October 1, 2022

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Lagos bizman accuses police of extortion, petitions IG

A 40-year-old businessman, Mudasir Adeleye, has accused men of the Area C Police Command, Ojuelegba, Surulere, of extorting money from him.

PUNCH Metro gathered that last Wednesday, Adeleye chartered a commercial bus to deliver some goods to his client.

The vehicle was, however, stopped on the way by police officers from the command, who demanded N20,500 as ‘gate fee.’

The businessman, who deals in the production of plastic, said, “The bus driver had only stopped at a filling station adjacent Area C Police Command because the vehicle was overheating, when a thug popularly known called Ogun and some officers, led by DSP Okinola, came to harass us.

“They demanded the driver’s key and we started pleading with them, explaining what happened, but they did not listen. The driver did nothing wrong, but all our pleas still fell on deaf ears.

“They later called a towing van to take the vehicle into their premises.

“We waited from 8.45am till 4.15pm before they answered us. After pleading for a long time, they told us to pay N10,000 for the towing vehicle, 10,000 for settlement and N500 for gate fee.”

Adeleye said he paid a cash of N25,000 to Okinola before the vehicle was released.

Ogun, aka Police Dog, allegedly worked as an agent of extortion for the police in the community.

The driver of the vehicle, Toyin Adejumo, said policemen in the area always extorted money from residents.

He said, “The officers are used to doing this; they have made it a norm especially since the ban on Okadas. We did nothing wrong, yet they stopped us and collected N20,500 from us after delaying us for a long time.”

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Our correspondent saw a petition written by a human rights committee, the iRelief Waaf Foundation, regarding Adeleye’s complaints.

The petition, which was signed by the foundation’s Secretary General, Momoh Raimi, and addressed to the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, dated July 13, 2022, demanded an investigation into the “professional misconduct” of the cops.

The petition partly read, “Sir, we therefore humbly request that you use your good offices to fully investigate this alleged professional misconduct of illegally demanding and collecting money and the use of proxies to extort our people and conceal their illicit acts.

“It is also our prayer that appropriate disciplinary action be meted out to DSP Okinola and his team if found wanting, so as to serve as a deterrent to other corrupt elements in the force.”

The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin, could not be reached for comment as a text message sent to his line had yet to be replied to as of press time.

The Force Police Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, denied knowledge of the petition.

He said, “It will pass through the Deputy Inspector-General of Police before I receive it. For now, I am not aware of it.”