Some police officers have been arrested after they were caught on tape threatening to frame up a man for robbery if he refuses to give them a bribe.
A new extortion method applied by the police has been uncovered by a motorist, Niya Ezra, who has reported how he was forced to part with N10,000 by some policemen attached to the Ondo State Police Command’s Fast Strike Squad, to avoid being set up as an armed robber.
He also identified two of the policemen as Sergeant Idoko Edache and F. Temitope.
According to Ezra, an employee of the Nigeria Institute of Medical Research, he was travelling to the Akungba area of Ondo State to visit his sick sister on April 25 when he ran into a police check point along the road and the shameless police officers decided to hit on him.
"They are Fast Strike Squad with a patrol van marked, 04. I slowed down, wound down the door glass of my jeep and greeted them. They looked inside my car and told me to go.
But a few kilometers away, I ran into another patrol team and the policemen there ordered me to go back to the previous point for his vehicle to be properly checked.
When I got back to the first point, they told me to park near a bush and proceeded to search the car. I folded both the front and back seats of the vehicle for them. They discovered I did not have anything incriminating. They checked my vehicle particulars and the chassis number and confirmed they are correct.
After the search, the team suddenly became hostile and ordered me to pay N10,000 or be arrested for armed robbery.
I pleaded with them that I was on my way to see my sick sister but they would not let me go. After four hours of pleading, I saw that the policemen were serious about framing me up for armed robbery and I had to pay them the money.
They threatened to frame me up for robbery if I failed to cooperate. At a point, one of them said if they really wanted to deal with me for proving stubborn, they would radio their station that an armed robber had been arrested.
I was shocked. I then pretended as if I wanted to urinate and went to a corner to switch on the recorder of my handset. I begged with N1,000; increased it to N3,000; and then N5,000; yet, they refused. They said they would not collect even N9,999."
In the recorded conversation between Ezra, a voice which he said was that of a police officer, said:
"Your money is N10,000; I don tell you (referring to Ezra). Even N9,999 is not acceptable. When we stopped you why you no stop? You don suffer us instead of you to pack jeje (gently).
Where one army (soldier) dey, una go pack, come down inside motor, carry leg go meet am and put money for inside drum."
"They did not see me with anything incriminating. But I had to bribe them at that moment because I saw that they were very desperate. It means they have been doing it to innocent citizens. I want them to be brought to justice."
The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Wole Ogodo, was however quick to address the situation, saying the erring police officers, having been quizzed and found culpable, have been locked up in custody as a preliminary discipline.
"He (Edache) wanted to deny, but I told him he can’t. Everybody knows me. I don’t compromise on discipline.
Presently, I have ordered that he and his team members be locked up. For further disciplinary action to be taken on them, it requires that the man comes forward to give evidence. I thank him for being able to identify two of the cops.
Meanwhile, on behalf of the command, I want to appeal to the man not to use the few bad eggs to judge the entire police force. I assure him that justice will be done in this case."