A struggling undergraduate in Delta State and his parents are now in dire straits following the alleged extortion of his school fees and upkeep allowance by armed policemen along Sapele-Warri Road.
A report on Saturday, November 16, 2019, by PUNCH said the incident took place last Tuesday, November 12, 2019. It identified the victim as Efe Ifie, a 300 level student of Civil Engineering at the Delta State University. The report said the incident took place
“Some armed policemen at a checkpoint stopped the bus he was travelling in and reportedly compelled him to cough up N150,000 meant for the school fees and his feeding,” the report said.
Ifie told the paper that the policemen flagged down the bus and asked him to disembark for inspection, then took him to their station and threatened to detain him after they checked his phone and saw two Gmail accounts – one his personal email address bearing his name while the other carries the name of his dance crew.
The 22-year-old explained that to his amazement, the policeman afterwards tagged him a fraudster for operating two email addresses, the report said.
It quoted Ifie as saying: “I told him I am not a fraudster and was trying to explain to him that the second email is for my crew. He called his colleague to take me into their vehicle far from where the bus I was travelling in was and they handcuffed me. They told the driver to leave me. I told them I am a student and that I was going to school.”
The young man, according to the report, repeatedly pleaded with the cops to allow him call his parents but they declined, rather asking him to “settle” with N200,000.
Ifie said that after being detained at Ekpan Police Division until around 2pm, he was taken to an ATM point but it did not work. “They then took me to a POS stand around the station and forced me to withdraw N150,000 from my account for them. My school fees was about N80,000 while the remaining money was for my welfare. The payment for school fees is closing next month,” he lamented.
On his parents’ reaction, PUNCH quoted Ifie as saying: “When I got home I narrated what happened to my parents and they were upset because it was difficult for them to raise that money. I don’t know the names of the policemen because they didn’t wear name tags but I can identify them.”
However, Onome Onovwakpoyeya, the Delta State police public relations officer, PPRO, told PUNCH that the police team could not have been from Ekpan Division as the spot where Ifie was picked was not under the division’s jurisdiction.
He was quoted as saying: “There is nothing much we can do. The appropriate thing is for the person to report in my office. The person can do an email to my office, explaining what happened if he doesn’t want to come. And if there is anything he noticed about the policemen that we can use (to fish them out), he should tell us.”