The PUNCH reports that Nigerians who wish to report cases of rape, kidnapping, murder or incidents such as road accidents through the newly inaugurated Police VGS Mobile App must pay N12,000 before they can do so.
Recall that the Nigeria Police Force had, in a promotional video on its Twitter handle on June 2, 2019, said the app would go a long way in reducing the crime rate.
The Police had stated, “The Nigeria Police Force, through the dogged efforts of the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, in a bid to combat the high rate of criminality and criminal elements, kidnappers, domestic offenders, violence, cultism, rape, robbery, among so many, has launched the Police VGS Mobile App.
“The Police VGS Mobile App is a web-based dispatch system for quick emergency reporting of incidents by citizens for the prompt response by the Nigeria Police and other emergency and security agencies within five seconds of reporting.”
However, Correspondent of PUNCH, who downloaded the application through Google Playstore, was first asked to choose between three subscription plans: family plan, individual plan and student plan.
Repeated attempts to select any other package apart from the ‘individual’ plan proved abortive, forcing everyone to subscribe for the individual plan.
A data page subsequently emerges, requesting for name, email, address and other vital information; while, at the bottom, it is stated that the subscription cost is N12,000 for 12 months.
Also, there is no option for a monthly payment of subscription, as subscribers can only pay N12,000 per year.
Other options on the application such as FAQs and ‘contact us’ refused to open despite several clicks on the icons.
When contacted, Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Frank Mba, said he would find out the information about the status of the app before responding to our Correspondent’s questions.
His response is still being awaited as of the time of filing this report.
The PUNCH learnt that the app was developed by Vigiscope Limited for the Police.
As stated on its website, Vigiscope Ltd was founded by a group of communication, information, technology, telecommunication, instrumental, electrical and automobile engineers who formerly worked for some major international companies.
“Vigiscope Ltd was incorporated in Germany and in Nigeria as Limited Liability Companies and commenced full communication, engineering, security, information technology, electrical and automobile business operations thereafter.”
Apart from the Police, it listed Kogi, Edo, Gombe, Bauchi and Sokoto states as clients.
When our Correspondent called the telephone number on the website of Vigiscope, a representative of the firm, who identified herself as Ms. Oloruntoba, confirmed that Nigerians would have to pay N12,000 before being allowed to use the emergency app.
She said, “Yes, we developed an app for the Police. The family plan and the student plan are still being worked on. It is only the individual plan that is active for now.
“The N12,000 is for a yearly subscription, not monthly. There is no monthly subscription.”
Meanwhile, speaking with our Correspondent on the telephone, a former director with the Department of State Services, Mike Ejiofor, said the Police was wrong to demand N12,000 from Nigerians to use a facility which is free in other countries.
Ejiofor said the good intention of the Police to create such an app has been undermined by the subscription fee.
He said with the high rate of poverty in the country, especially in rural areas, most Nigerians would not make use of the app.
Also speaking, human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), said the subscription fee was most unfortunate.