Not too long ago, three policemen attached to Enugu State Police Command extorted N30,000 from a passenger, Valentine Chidi Nnanemere. Nnanemere’s ‘offence’: He was that he was found in ‘possession of a laptop computer.’ The policemen, operating in a vehicle with inscription “Urban Patrol,” initially demanded N500,000 from the passenger to free him. Nnanemere and others were travelling from Awka in Anambra State to Abuja in a Toyota Sienna belonging to First Anambra Company.
At about 10a.m. on the fateful day, the policemen, who mounted a checkpoint, flagged down the vehicle around Opi Junction, Nsukka and ordered all the passengers to disembark for a search. But when they did not find anything incriminating with any of the passengers, the policemen decided to apprehend Nnanemere because a laptop computer was found in his bag.
They reportedly tagged him a Yahoo boy (Internet fraudster) and decided to take him to the station, for a check of his laptop and phones. Nnanemere denied being a Yahoo boy and showed them an identification card indicating that he works as a translator with TY-FIYATA
But the policemen would hear none of that. “…They took me to EFCC Junction, Independence Layout. On the way, they told me that it was better I settled them if not I would spend more. They asked me to give them N500,000. After much begging, we ended at N30,000.
They took me to a bank in Enugu, where I withdrew N40,000. I gave them N30,000,” Nnanemere said. Thankfully, the three policemen, who arrested Nnanemere and collected N30,000 from him have been fished out.
They were arrested by the Officer-in- Charge (OC) of Urban Patrol, Enugu Police Command, Mr. Oko Emmanuel. They have also been made to refund his money. They even added N10,000 to the money. The OC reportedly mandated the policemen to call Nnanemere, apologise to him and collect his account number for the refund. However, we urge the police hierarchy to mete out appropriate punishment on the three erring policemen.
It is apparent that after escaping from the claws of the criminals parading as policemen and getting a refund, Nnanemere is no longer interested in pursuing the case. But what further evidence do the police authorities need beyond the confession of the culprits. Policemen continue to perpetrate atrocities, which they were employed in the first place to prevent, because of the belief that they can always wriggle out without consequences. This explains why three policemen attached to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Lagos, seized the documents of a man going for a visa interview at the United States of America Embassy at Walter Carrington, Lagos Island.
The policemen delayed the victim for about 15 minutes. He was forced to transfer N35,000 to a bank account before his documents were released to him. The victim, who in his Twitter handle gave his name simply as Mistayemi, said he just alighted from a tricycle not too far from the United States Embassy, when the three policemen accosted him. He was about to enter the embassy premises when the policemen ordered him to stop. He brought out his identity card and introduced himself to them, but despite that, the policemen still delayed him. He said: “…Intermittently, I kept checking my wristwatch to remind them of my interview appointment at the embassy. “When one of the policemen saw my countenance, he said ‘I know how important the interview is to you.’
He then called me aside and asked me ‘how much do you have with you there?’ I told him I had just N2,000 with me. He said: ‘I wouldn’t want to jeopardise your appointment that is why you have to bring out better money, for the sake of the appointment.’
“I asked for a bank account from him, he then gave me an account, where I transferred N35,000 into. To my surprise, the recipient of the money is a lady.” While the policemen who “robbed” Nnanemere of his N30,000 have been identified and made to refund the money, the police authorities in Lagos have not said anything about those who collected N35,000 from Mistayemi. We demand an urgent probe into the policemen who fleeced Mistayemi. When caught, they should face the stiffest of punishments to serve as deterrent to other like minds in the force. To do anything less is to embolden the bad eggs in the Police to commit even worse atrocities, which would in turn make the force to lose the last vestige of respect it currently enjoys from the public. The calamity, which would befall a nation whose police have lost the respect and trust of the citizens, can only be imagined than experienced.