Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Idris has dismissed three policemen for their involvement in illegal arrest, detention and extortion of money from some people.
The dismissed personnel – AP. No 136005 Inspector Okelue Nkemeonye, F/No. 355897 Sgt. Braimoh Sunday and F/No. 359928 Sgt. Yusuf Olukoga – were attached to Area Command, Ijede-Ikorodu under the Lagos State Command.
The policemen, who were armed and pretended to be members of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), harassed their victims and collected N200,000 from them before they were released.
In a statement issued in Abuja yesterday, the Officer in charge of Public Complaint Rapid Response Unit (PCRRU), Abayomi Shogunle, stated that the personnel tagged their victims Internet fraudsters – “Yahoo Yahoo boys”.
Shogunle said the policemen collected N90,000 through the ATM and N110,000 through mobile bank money transfer to a third party account provided by the policemen.
He said the officers were found guilty and dismissed after they appeared at Orderly Room trial at the Zone Two Command Headquarters, Onikan-Yaba, Lagos.
He said the adjudicating officer found them guilty on two charges of offence against discipline as provided for in paragraphs C (ii) Corrupt Practices and E (iii) Discreditable Conduct of the First Schedule of Police Act and Regulations Cap. P19. Law of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
Giving details, Shogunle said: “On the June 21, 2017 the Public Complaint Rapid Response Unit (PCRRU) received a complaint via WhatsApp number 08057000003.
“The complaint reads: ‘I went to the bank this morning 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 car packed full of some SARS policemen wearing black clothes with anti-robbery squad written at the back. I was told to enter the vehicle with a gun pointed at me.
“They collected my mobile phone and asked me what I do for a living. I told them that I had just finished my youth service and I am 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 call out.”
The complaint further reads: “I received an alert on my phone with the money I went to deposit. They searched my phone and on seeing the alert, they labelled me as a yahoo boy and told me that I would pay them N1 million.
“One of them slapped me. They drove us around places in Ikorodu, Ijede, Gberigbe, Ibeshe, Igbe, Ipakodo, Itaelewa, Agric and First Gate, harassing people, moving them in the car and collecting huge amount 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). And one by name Austin slapped me.
“They picked me up around 9am and dropped me at about 6pm in the evening after collecting money from me. They also used my account to collect money from the guys that I met in the car and used my ATM to withdraw from them.”
Shogunle said his team was dispatched to Ikorodu where all the three dismissed policemen, including AP No. 98199 ASP Bayo Obadia, who led the team, were apprehended.
He said preliminary investigation by the unit revealed that the allegations contained in the complaint sent via WhatsApp message actually happened.
“Also, the four police officers, who were armed on the day of the incident, falsely paraded themselves as operatives of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) despite not being posted to SARS by 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 by the PCRRU investigators.
“All the arrested officers, witnesses and recovered exhibits, including the N200,000 cash and printed bank statement of account, were handed over to the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 2 Lagos for further detailed investigation and necessary disciplinary measures.
“The approval of the punishment of dismissal from service as recommended by the adjudicating officer is part of the outcome of the disciplinary measures,” Shogunle said.
On what would become of the fourth person in the act, he said: “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 has been forwarded to the office of the Force Secretary, Force Headquarters, Abuja from where it would be proceeded to the Police Service Commission as required by police regulations.”