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IGP team arrests court officials for allegedly extorting from motorists over face masks

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It was the end of the road for five court officials who were arrested by the Inspector-General of Police Monitoring Unit deployed to Lagos and Ogun states, for parading themselves as officers of the Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Enforcement Agency popularly called ‘Task Force’. They were allegedly extorting motorists and residents over the use of face masks in the state.

Among the five court officials, who were led by one Henry Akintanmi popularly called ‘Spider’ and deployed to Lagos State Special Offences (Mobile) Court, were three policemen who were primarily assigned to ensure the safety of lives and property of the five mobile courts and magistrates in the state.

Before the IGP special team led by the former Police Public Relations Officer in Lagos, CSP Ngozi Braide, arrested the Lagos Mobile Court officials yesterday, it was gathered that the state government had been inundated with complaints of extortions on Lagos roads by the officials who were said to have allegedly established an illegal Taskforce unit under the Lagos Mobile Court to extort residents in the state.

It was gathered that the officials in order to ensure the operation achieve the targeted aim, adopted Taskforce enforcement style and painted their vehicles with a bold inscription of Taskforce on it and move in convoy to arrest and extort motorists that were not familiar with Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Enforcement Agency.

Akintanmi, a Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) ex-officer, and his gang, earlier in the week, stormed Lagos roads and apprehended residents for moving within the state without using a face mask.

Ms. Clara, one of the victims extorted for not using a face mask, reported to the IGP monitoring team, claiming that the officials who extorted her were from Lagos Task Force and appealed for an investigation.

It was gathered that after Clara’s complaint, decoy officers accompanied her to Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Enforcement Agency headquarters in Oshodi to identify the perpetrators.

On arrival, chairman of Taskforce, CSP Olayinka Egbeyemi, denied the involvement of his officers and disclosed that since the advent of the dreaded hoodlums, ‘One Million Boys’, his personnel had been deployed to various locations to prevent any possible attack on residents.

Egbeyemi said: “We have been manning the entry points of the state during this lockdown. We have not been engaging in any enforcement in Lagos state. And some of the places you can find my men now are Agege, Ikorodu, Oshodi, Alakuko, Lekki-Ikoyi, and Berger end of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. I know that my officers were never involved in any enforcement.”

After leaving the Lagos Taskforce office, our correspondent learned that Clara and members of the IGP team discovered the vehicle that apprehended her within the premises of Lagos State Special Offences (Mobile) Court where the perpetrators were picked by the team.

The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Bala Elkana, in chat, said that he was not aware of the arrest made by the Braide-led team in the state.


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