A 2017 survey by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) identified officers of the Nigeria police force as among the most corrupt public officials in the country, mostly due to bribery. But amid that distasteful record, one officer stands out among his peers in the force.
Julius Adedeji is said to have never taken a bribe — not because he has never been offered such but because it is “needless” for him. And for that rare feat, the BBC is celebrating him as Nigeria’s ‘most dedicated police officer’.
In an interview, he told BBC that he was surprised receiving the award because he did not know he was being watched. “I thank God that it’s recognised and I feel like putting my best more and more,” he said.
“A copy of the letter (from the BBC) was delivered to my office for my information, when I read through it, I was wondering could it be true? I read through the letter and I saw that it said, they wanted an institution where they can name and shame those that are not doing well and encourage the people that are doing well within the Nigerian police force, I felt so great.”
Asked if he has ever been offered money in the form of bribe, he said: “Absolutely. And even today a person offered to give me some money and I said ‘no,no,no,no why would you do that, I’m just doing my work’.”
He, however, admitted he has been tempted to take bribes. “There’s no way one would not once in a while be tempted,” he said, adding: “But I just want to do what is right.” He also has a word for police officers — and others — who bribe is also a source of living for.
“I know in my little space where I work, I’ve seen people who are going the wrong way. We’ve talked to them and told them you don’t have to do this and God will find a way to bless you when you’re doing what is right,” he said.
Adedeji is a superintendent of police. He is currently serving in the Ekiti state police command. Reacting to the Adedeji’s feat, some twitter users encouraged him to keep up with the good work. Some others, however, doubted the possibility of a police officer who doesn’t collect bribe in Nigeria.