Victim narrates how policemen extorted N300,000 from them at gunpoint
An innocent Nigerian has narrated how some policemen stopped him, his brother and mother on the road and compelled them at gunpoint to transfer N300,000 to them.
The victim, simply identified as Adebola, who took to his twitter handle, Adebola@educatedthurg, to complain, urged human rights activists and the government to intervene on his behalf.
He explained that they were stopped on August 6, 2020 at an interchange by policemen who wore vests with the inscription ‘Eleweran SCIID’ while taking their mother to a hospital in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
He said: “They profiled us as ‘Yahoo boys’ and forcibly took our phones from us. After about 30 minutes of going through our phones and finding nothing, they asked who owned the car we were driving. We told them it belonged to our sister and that we were taking our mother to the hospital. After about an hour of interrogation, they got into our car and drove us to a place in Sium, where they stopped and demanded for N500,000. We insisted we wouldn’t pay because we had not committed any crime.”
Adebola further narrated that the policemen, perceiving them as being stubborn, drove them to a police station in Owode Egba roundabout, opposite Oando Filling Station, where they allegedly threatened to lock them up. The policemen also told them that they would have to pay more if they were detained overnight in police cell.
He said: “They went through our phones again, saying it was not possible for us to have nothing on us. This time, they found an alert on my brother’s phone with an available balance of N1.2 million. The angry officers asked how my brother got that amount of money in his account. My brother explained that he was a forex trader.
“He even showed the officers his trades and chats. We realised it was getting serious and out of hand, because the policemen looked desperate and willing to do anything to us. We decided to negotiate with them. They said they would take nothing less than N300,000 because of the stress we had put them through.
“We agreed to pay the money just to gain our freedom because my mum was scared to death. They refused a transfer because they said it was traceable. They directed us to a POS close to the police station to make the withdrawal. After collecting the money, they asked us to make a one-minute video, stating that we were yahoo boys and to also admit that no money was taken from us. We did it because my mum was worried. They corked their guns like one million times and had over 60 similar videos of different victims on their phones. They were very careful not to mention their names. They go by different code names. I can remember Eru, Tiger and Agbara.”
Reacting, the Nigeria Police Force on its twitter handle, @PoliceNG_CRU, disclosed it has launched investigation into the complaint.On August 8, 2020, Adebola returned to twitter to report that their money had been returned, including the POS charges. He added: “I just pray the police could do better in their way of operating.”
However, in spite of the police response, Nigerians have lashed out at the police over the incident. A twitter user, Olaide A. Omideyi@OmideyiOlaide, said: “It seems the police now have kidnapping gangs and it is not possible for those up there not to know the atrocities being committed by these thugs.
“We see them daily at Old Brewery in Abeokuta, stopping cars driven by young men to extort money. Their vehicles have nothing written on them and no number plates. The so-called officers don’t wear uniforms too, but hold automatic weapons and stand on the road in the name of ‘checking’.”