Nigeria: Police Station Where Officers Don't Wear Shoes
In what seems like a throw-back to President Goodluck Jonathan's days of 'no shoes', the men of the Trinity Police Station under the Area B Command in Lagos State, appear sentenced to working without shoes, no thanks to the rains which have made nonsense of any attempt to wear shoes within the station.
Instead of the normal black leather shoes that are compulsory part of the police dress code at Trinity Police Station, it is bathroom slippers, flip flops, rain boots and palms slippers, all the way, both junior and even senior officers. With trousers rolled up to their knees, and fitted with rubber slippers, the men radiate anything but the aura of the Police Force. And in a way, they come across as a spectacle, what with their guns and rifles strapped around their shoulders.
Those familiar with the special dress code at the Trinity Police Station understand that the near permanent flooded condition of the police station is to blame.
When THISDAY visited the station last Sunday afternoon, all the policemen on duty were either wearing rubber slippers or flip flops, and with their trousers rolled up to knee level to avoid the water that had taken over the police station.
THISDAY had gone to cover the fire incident at Speed Well Plaza, Industrial Street, Trinity Bus Stop, located right in front of the police station.
Their casual looks and gaits raised posers as to whether they are combat ready in responding to emergencies.
Indeed, a complete police outfit consists of shoes, socks, belt, cap and the uniform.
But THISDAY authoritatively gathered that with each rain, the policemen are forced to work under unfavourable conditions in their "improper outfits".
It was also gathered that the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) that heads the station is often forced to flee his office each time it rains.
To buttress this point, some of the personnel said with the Sunday rain they were forced to climb the marble counter in the reception because the water level was as high up to their hips forcing them to climb levers and objects, thus hampering effective work flow.
Speaking on conditions of anonymity, some of the officers who spoke to THISDAY said they resorted to wearing rubber slippers because they are tired of wearing shoes that are constantly soaked in water, which in turn makes the station to emit foul smell, arising from wet leather.
They said: "How long would we continue to wear our shoes and socks in the water? At the end of the day, when we pull off our shoes and socks, the stench is enough to wake up the dead. We are not even talking about the amount it costs us to constantly repair our shoes. With each rain, our life is made unbearable.
"We have done everything possible even to the extent of using planks but it wasn't working so we opted for bathroom slippers that are durable. For our trousers, we simply pull it up to our knees to avoid it being soaked.
"If you call us the police station where policemen don't wear shoes you wouldn't be far from the truth. We are tired! We want our plight to be drawn to the attention of the members of the public especially our IG."
Also, it was exclusively gathered that the DPO was forced to relocate the suspects in the station from the holding cell because of the water level. At least, while the water in the different offices and the reception was a little clean, the one in the cells was brackish and smelly, just like the ones found in the drainages, right in front of the station.
A quick check revealed buckets planted strategically in some points of the station to collect some of the rain water from the leaking roof of the station. It was gathered that after each rain, policemen undertake thorough cleaning and mopping as they use brooms, buckets and packers to scoop out the water and wait for another rainy day.
Aside the station, the entire street leading to the police station is in a state of disrepair with brackish, smelly water covering the entrance. Some of the police officers disclosed that they have been forced to park their cars a street away and walk in.
Some of the police officers said the sorry state of their station is worsened by the bad road in front of their office. According to them, because of the state of the drainage as well as the craters on the road, the rain water overflows into the station turning it into pool.
When asked why they have not solicited the aid of either the Ifelodun Local Government chairman or the numerous tank farm owners and oil marketers to fix the road, police sources said they have written series of letters to no avail.
One of them said: "Are you talking of letters? We have done that already but got negative responses. The question the oil companies often ask us is what they would benefit from fixing our roads. They forget quickly that without us their facilities would be in great danger.
"We are the only police station near the tank farms and we have been providing adequate security for each of them yet they can't come together to make our work place favourable."
THISDAY's attempt to speak to the DPO, Dare Ogundare, a Chief Superintendent of Police, on the situation at the station was rebuffed as he declined to comment.