Anaku Ochudo, the Deputy Director of the Traffic Management Agency (ATMA) in Anambra North, has reimbursed Nonso Ijomah, a taxi driver, with N15,000 out of the N50,000 collected from him by the agency’s officers on Saturday.
On Monday, FIJ reported that police officers from the Onitsha Police Command slapped Ijomah’s buttocks with a cutlass and detained him overnight.
The following day, the policemen handed Ijomah over to ATMA officers who collected N50,000 from him for driving against traffic on Onitsha Bridge.
Ijomah admitted to breaking the traffic law while rushing to the airport to pick up a passenger, but insisted his rights were trampled upon by the police and ATMA.
He told FIJ that the payment was “a deal of extortion between the two law enforcement agencies”.
“If it was not extortion, they would have asked me to pay to the bank because I offered to pay the money into a designated account but the ATMA officers refused,” he said.
AN OFFICER WHO CLAIMS TO BE A FRIEND OF ESSENTIAL WORKERS
When FIJ contacted Ochudo, he said he only allowed the driver to pay to an officer because of his desperation to get his car out.
“If not that I saw how desperate he was to get his car out of custody that day, I would have insisted that he paid to the government’s account and returned with the receipt,” Ochudo said. “I don’t allow cash payment or transfer to any officer’s account; it’s a crime I frown at.
“With the way you explained his experience with the police to me now, I will be lenient. Tell him to come on Tuesday and I will do the needful. I will cut part of the money already paid before the rest is deposited into the appropriate account.”
At about 11am on Tuesday, Ijomah arrived at Ochudo’s office and was immediately given N15,000 as compensation for his experience with the police.
Ochudo said the remaining N35,000 would be paid into the government’s account so that proper financial documentation could be done for the month.
Speaking further with FIJ, Ochudo said, “People know that I don’t tolerate non-compliance with traffic light signals and driving on the wrong lane.
“I only permit doctors and other essential workers. I have released many journalists whenever they are rushing to catch up on their assignment. I only do this because I understand these professions deal directly with lives, but I don’t indulge business people like that.”
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