Three man of the Lagos State Command of the Nigeria police force have been dismissed after being found guilty of illegal arrest and extortion.
The affected officers are Okelue Nkemeonye, Braimoh Sunday and Yusuf Olukoga.
Abayomi Shogunle, an assistant commissioner of police, who disclosed this to journalists on Monday, July 24, 2017, encouraged members of the public to report the misconduct of police officers.
He said action was taken against the dismissed officers after a complaint.
The complainant had told the public complaint rapid response unit that he was arrested at gunpoint and money was forcefully collected from him after he was assaulted.
The ex-policemen, led by one Bayo Obadia, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, with AP No., 98199, had reportedly paraded themselves as operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad on June 21, 2017.
It was said that the men stationed a van in front of a bank in Ikorodu, where one of their victims, a graduate, had gone to deposit some money.
On coming out of the bank, they collected his phone and forced him to enter their van.
The graduate, in a petition written to the Public Complaint Rapid Response Unit via its Whatsapp number, 08057000003, stated that the policemen accused him of being a Yahoo boy (Internet fraudster), and asked him to pay N1m.
The victim, whose identity was not disclosed, wrote, “I went to the bank this morning (June 21) to deposit money to a company’s account, but there was no network; so I deposited the money into my personal account to do the transfer to the account later. When I came out of the bank, I saw a van with some SARS policemen inside.
“I was told to enter the vehicle at gunpoint. They collected my mobile phone and asked me what I did for a living. I told them that I had just finished my youth service and I was living with my brother. I pointed my brother’s shop to them to stop by and see him because he was the one that sent me to the bank.
“They refused to wait and they did not allow me to pick my calls or make any call. I received an alert on my phone confirming the money I went to deposit. They searched my phone and on seeing the alert, they said I was a Yahoo boy, telling me that I would pay them N1m. One of them slapped me.”
The victim said one of the cops beat him up and the team eventually collected N50,000 from him.
He explained that some other persons were picked and falsely tagged Yahoo boys, adding that the team extorted money from them.
“They drove round places in Ikorodu, Ijede, Gberigbe, Ibeshe, Ipakodo, Ita-Elewa, Agric and First Gate, harassing people and extorting money from them. They collected N50,000 from me, but I noticed that each junction that we reached, people were hailing their leader by his nickname, OJ (Ojewunmi). One Austin slapped me. They picked me up around 9am and released me at about 6pm. They even used my account to collect money from the guys that I met in the car and used my ATM card to withdraw the money,” he said.
Shogunle said after investigation, it was found out that the allegations were true.
“Upon the receipt of the complaint, a case with tracking number PCRRU637624 was registered and acknowledgment of complaint sent to the complainant,” the statement read.
“PCRRU Investigation team was dispatched to Ikorodu where all the three dismissed policemen including AP No. 98199 ASP Bayo Obadia who led the team were apprehended. PCRRU preliminary investigation reveals that all the allegations contained in the WhatsApp message actually happened.
“Also the four police officers who were armed on the day of the incident falsely paraded themselves as operatives of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) despite not being posted to SARS by police authorities. Investigation also shows that the officers extorted a total sum of N200,000 from the young men who they tagged ‘Yahoo Yahoo Boys’, the money was force from them via N90,000 ATM withdrawal and N110,000 mobile bank money transfer to a third party account provided by the policemen.
“All the extorted N200,000 was recovered by the PCRRU Investigators.
“The inspector-general of police, IGP Ibrahim K. Idris NPM, mni has commended the complainant for coming forward to report the incident to PCRRU, the IGP has also said that all allegations of professional misconduct reported against any police officer would be treated in line with relevant laws and in keeping to the ‘Change Begins With Me Campaign’ of the federal government.”
He encouraged members of the public to report cases of police misconduct to the PCRRU through the following numbers and platforms: 08057000001, 08057000002 (phone calls only), 08057000003 (SMS/WhatsApp only) | BBM:58A2B5DE, | Twitter: @PoliceNG_PCRRU | Facebook: www.facebook.com/PolicePCRRU | Email: [email protected] OR [email protected]