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Extortion: Police silent over DPO’s extortion of POS operators

By Eniola Daniel
12 July 2022   |   3:30 am
The Lagos State Police Command has kept silent over allegations of extortion levelled against the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Akinpelu Police Station, Oshodi, Lagos...

Banners advertising services of POS operators PHOTO: CHIJOKIE IREMEKA

The Lagos State Police Command has kept silent over allegations of extortion levelled against the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Akinpelu Police Station, Oshodi, Lagos, Superintendent of Police (SP), Nkiruka Ugwu.

The DPO had arrested some operators of Point of Sales (POS) in the area last week. She was alleged to have claimed that she was acting on the order of the Inspector General Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba to arrest the victims.
While raiding the operators, Ugwu said that the IGP had declared the operation of POS around the Police Station illegal and that they should be arrested.
The DPO alongside her team allegedly harassed, arrested and confiscated POS machines of the victims and she asked the victims numbering up to 10 to bail themselves with N10,000 each and that they should come back later to bail their POS machine with N10, 000 each.
Ugwu allegedly went to one of the victims and threatened to remove her container or she will take her to the Lagos State Police Command for prosecution.
The victim also alleged that the DPO had always come to her shop to do money transfers, but will never pay back and that she had severally told her that Nigeria owes and that she can owe her too.
Also, another victim, Temitope Adejoun, said the DPO arrested her brother after she refused to follow her to the station when she came to her shop.
“They put my mum who was backing my little daughter, behind the counter after she went to the station to demand why my brother was arrested,” she alleged.
After the incident went public and was brought before the chairman of Radical Agenda Movement, Adesina Ogunlana, the DPO allegedly called one Olayiwola Matiloko to a meeting to help her coordinate the operators to come for their POS machine after her threat failed to silence the victims but, Matiloko asked her to call them by herself.
Contacted, the Akinpelu DPO, simply said: “The matter is before the Police Public  Relations Officer (PPRO) and I can’t speak on it. I can’t speak with you on phone, but you can come to my office. Also, I will only speak if the PPRO asks me to.”    
A source within the police, however, told The Guardian that police is dealing with the issue internally and that they are aware of the allegation and others.
When The Guardian reached out to the Lagos State Police Spokesperson, Benjamin Hundeyin, he declined to comment on the issue, and he did not respond to a text on enquiries on the case.
But Hundeyin, however, frowned on the idea of POS operators roving around police stations.
“It has been observed over time that some POS operators specialise in hanging around police stations. Investigations reveal that their target customers are innocent Nigerians being extorted by some recalcitrant police officers.
“Their presence around the stations has made the extortion game a lot easier. While the Force continually purges itself of these bad officers, it has become imperative that the activities of POS operators around police stations be regulated, as some of them have been identified to be enablers of extortion.

“This regulation is in line with our mandate of not just detecting but also preventing crime. To this end, anyone found to have knowingly enabled extortion would be treated as an accomplice.”