Kareem Damilare Jamiu, an Estate Agent, has accused five policemen allegedly from the Inspector-General of Police Special Tactical Squad, Lagos State Police Command of forcibly collecting almost N700,000 from him on Monday.
According to the victim, the policemen, who claimed to be from the Lagos State Police Command, were already searching his Sagamu, Ogun State residence without a warrant with his shocked wife watching, when he suddenly returned home to pick his phone, which he had earlier forgotten.
When the policemen saw him, they pulled a gun on him and accused him of being a suspected cultist and Yahoo boy.
They marched him into their vehicle.
On the way to the command, the allegedly demanded for N5 million for his bail.
During negotiations, the money was reduced to N100,000.
Jamiu, however, became uneasy when the policemen, rather than take him to the Police Headquarter in Ikeja, veered into the Ikeja Primary School, which was directly opposite the police command.
He was taken to a restaurant inside the school premises and ordered to write a statement.
The victim said he was picked at about 11am and released by 9pm.
Before he left, they had made him to transfer money totalling close to N700,000 to them.
Jamiu recounted: “It happened on Monday.
“I had earlier forgotten my phone at home, I returned home to pick it and found the five policemen, searching my house without a search warrant.
“They wore reflective jackets and written at the back is the IGP STS.
“They found a black soap, which I used to bath because I used to be sickly and accused me of being a Yahoo boy.
“They showed my voters’ card, saying they had been looking for me.
“I wondered how they got my card.
“They bundled me into their vehicle and asked me to pay N5 million so that they could release me.
“When I asked for my offence, they said I was a Yahoo Boy and a cultist, that I was scamming women overseas.
“I explained to them that I have a wife overseas, that I could call her immediately in their presence via video call for them to verify, but they refused to listen.”
Jamiu stated that when they got into the primary school premises, he was asked to write a statement, while they dictated to him what to write.
He added: “We finally agreed on N100,000 for my release.
“I didn’t even have such amount of money, so I started making calls to friends.
“My mother even came to join us at the primary school.”
The victim was later taken to a filling station close to the Police Command, popularly known as AP Filling Station, where a lady handling POS provided the money, while Jamiu transferred N100 ,000 to her.
After collecting the N100,000, they asked for another N5,000, which he gave them.
He said: “They took me back to the school and then demanded to check my phone that they wanted to know the balance in my account.
“They forced me to use my fingerprint to unlock my password.
“When they saw the balance, they started beating me, angry that I had such an amount of money in my account.
“But the truth is that the money was not mine.
“I did a N200,000 transfer twice and they still took me down to the POS to withdraw another one again.
“This makes a total of N715,000.
“In fact, the owner of the money is now asking for it.
“What those policemen did to me was pure robbery.
“I have all proofs of the transaction.”
Friends and family members, who heard the encounter of Jamiu with the policemen were nonplussed and outraged.
One of them convinced him to seek redress through Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre, a nongovernmental organisation.
When the Executive Director of RULAAC, Okechukwu Nwanguma, was briefed of the incident, he called one of the policemen on phone number 08136465902 and urged him to return the money to Jamiu.
He also promised him that he would write a petition to the IGP, Mohammed Adamu, on the conduct of the policemen.
A few minutes after Nwanguma concluded his conversation with him, the policeman called Jamiu’s mother, threatening fire and brimstone.
He didn’t know the phone was on automatic record.
The voice record started with the policeman’s voice: “We collected his ATM card and withdrew his money.
“The lawyer wants to write a petition to the Police Headquarters at Abuja.
“I told him that he should go ahead to write the petition.
“I’m not scared because if what he (Jamiu) is doing is contrary to the law of the nation, he is going to live in that house.
“So if he likes, he should report to Abuja.
“I’m less concerned.
“There is trouble already.
“I’m expecting the petition the lawyer wants to write; your son wants to prove he is connected.
“If he doesn’t leave Nigeria, he should call me a bastard!
“Who gave the lawyer my number.
“Is it you?
“But your son wasn’t there when I gave you my number.
“Your son has gone ahead to give someone my contact.
“If I receive any call, if he doesn’t regret his actions, let him call me a bastard.
“If he doesn’t sell that house away from Nigeria, there will be trouble.”
In a petition to Adamu, Nwanguma urged the IG to do everything within the ambit of the law to “identify the rogue officers and bring them to justice.”
Nwanguma said: “I called the number, 08136465902 and the officer spoke to me, admitting that he was in the team that came to arrest the young man, but denied using Jamiu’s ATM to withdraw money via a POS. Shortly after I spoke with the officer, Jamiu called me and reported that the officer called his mother and threatened to deal with her son for reporting them to a lawyer.”
Nwanguma requested Adamu to order a prompt, impartial and exhaustive investigation to identify the officers responsible for the rogue activities, which he said was akin to kidnapping, hostage taking and robbery.
“They should be made to refund the whole money they robbed from the victim and be subjected to appropriate disciplinary actions in accordance with the Police Act and other relevant laws,” said Nwanguma.