Three policemen attached to the Area N Command, Ijede, Ikorodu, Lagos State, have been dismissed from the Nigeria Police Force for unlawful arrest and extortion.
The dismissed cops are Inspector Okelue Nkemeonye with Administrative Police Number, 136005; Sergeant Braimoh Sunday, with Force Number, 355897, and Yusuf Olukoga with F.No., 359928.
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.
The PCCRU Commandant, ACP Abayomi Shogunle, said upon the receipt of the victim’s complaint, a team was sent to the Area Command for investigation, adding that they were found culpable.
Shogunle, in a statement on Monday, said, “PCRRU preliminary investigation revealed 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 the Special Anti-Robbery Squad despite not being posted to SARS by the police authorities.
“Investigation also showed that the officers extorted a total sum of N200,000 from the young men who they tagged, ‘Yahoo Yahoo boys.’ The money was forced 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.”
He said the erring policemen and exhibits recovered from them, including a bank statement, were handed over to the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 2 Command, Onikan, Lagos, Ibrahim Adamu, for further investigation and and necessary disciplinary measures.
He said the outcome of the AIG’s investigation led to the dismissal of the policemen.
The PCRRU commander stated that the move was in line with the efforts of the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to flush out unethical officers in the force.
“Approval has been given for the dismissal of three policemen attached to the Area ‘N’ Command, Ijede, Ikorodu, under the Lagos State Command, for giving the Nigeria Police Force a bad image.
“In the case of ASP Bayo Obadiah, who led the team of the infamous men on this unacceptable conduct, an official query was issued to him by the AIG Zone 2, Lagos.
“Both his reply and query have been forwarded to the office of the Force Secretary, Force Headquarters, Abuja, from where it would go to the Police Service Commission as required by police regulations,” Shogunle added.
Meanwhile, two sergeants and a constable attached to the Isheri Osun Police Station, Lagos, have been detained after two suspected robbers escaped from the cell.
It was said that the suspects removed the roof of the cell and escaped when the policemen were on duty.
The suspects were said to have been re-arrested by a team led by the Divisional Police Officer.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Olarinde Famous-Cole, said, “The policemen are in custody and will face disciplinary actions.”