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07.01.2024 Featured Abuja Police Extort N20,000 From Driver Who Stopped on Zebra Crossing to Obey Traffic Light

Published 7th Jan, 2024

By Emmanuel Uti

Solomon Ogorode, a sales expert at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), has detailed how erring police officers extorted N20,000 from him for stopping at a zebra crossing on Friday.

In a conversation with FIJ, the Abuja-based man said that he was driving down Ademola Adetokunbo Street to meet a colleague when he encountered the officers.

According to Ogorode, when he got to Diamond Junction, the traffic lights turned red, and he stopped his car immediately where he was on a zebra crossing.

Seconds later, he said, two police officers, one wearing the green traffic uniform, charged at him, and in turn, he wound down to hear what they had to say.

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“When I wound down, one of the police officers said that I stopped on the zebra crossing and that it was an offence. While we were still talking, the other officer forcefully opened my door and joined me at the front seat; the other sat at the back,” Ogorode told FIJ.

Explaining his reason for parking where they met him, Ogorode said that he did not want to beat the traffic light but the officers told him they would impound his vehicle for doing so.

“By this time, the light had turned green, so they asked me to drive to the other side of the road, which I did. When we arrived, they requested my driver’s licence. I told them it had expired, but since I had it with me, I showed them,” he said.

“I also showed them the one I got from the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), which I used to renew the current one. After I did, one of them now said it was an offence to park on the zebra crossing. I told them I was not aware of this, but it didn’t matter.

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“They then said they would impound my car and I would pay N45,000 and still go for two weeks of training. One of them then presented me with another option, stating that I could either pay a N25,000 bribe or face the full wrath of the law.”

Ogorode said that he protested at the new suggestion because he only had N20,000 on him and he was unwilling to let it go. When he expressed his displeasure at the suggestion, one of the officers brought at least 15 driver’s licences and told him they belonged to car owners whose vehicles were impounded.

“Threatening me, the officer said that if I failed to pay him, he would ensure that my vehicle was impounded. Seeing that they were unwilling to accept the N10,000 I earlier proposed, I drove to a nearby point of sale operator, where I withdrew all the N20,000 from my account and gave it to them,” he said.

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He said that after he handed the cash to the officers, they got out of his car and left. But on getting home, he could not find his driver’s licence. It was then that he realised that the officer he handed his licence to took it from where he kept it.

When FIJ called Josephine Adeh, the spokesperson for the FCT, for comments, she did not respond. Also, she had not responded to the texts sent to her phone at press time.

In Nigeria, it is wrong to stop on the zebra crossing or the white dotted lines at traffic points, and a person can be charged for it, depending on their state of residence.

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Published 7th Jan, 2024

By Emmanuel Uti

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