While the police say that ‘bail is free’, officers at the Ikorodu Police Station illegally collect a non-negotiable fee of N50,000 from detainees before they are allowed to leave, otherwise they will ‘enjoy’ a prolonged stay in bug-infested cells.
FIJ gathered from an ex-detainee that all police officers at the station close to Ikorodu roundabout participate in the extortion.
With desires to get illegal income, police officers go into the town, carry out raids, make arbitrary arrests and compel suspects to pay N50,000 fee before they are released.
“One counted his money and right in my presence opened a pack of white envelope and slot in wads of naira note, sealed it back. I guess it’s returns,” the source who asked to not be named said.
“Before I left there, some guys who cliamed they did not do anything to deserve the arrest said they were told to bring N50,000 before they would be released.”
There is also the risk of an outbreak of disease as the cells. are not in good conditions, the source insisted.
“I was kept in one of the three overcrowded cells. There were bed bugs on the ground and on the walls. And because the water in the toilet was locked from outside, there was an unbearable foul odour,” the source said.
A lawyer told FIJ that bail is not free in Lagos police stations and that even at police headquarters, officers demand money before releasing detainees.
“The signposts at police stations with inscriptions that ‘bail is free’ should be taken down because it is actually not free. Even at the State Criminal Investigation Department at Alagbon, police officers demanded N2million before we could bail a client. They spend this money; it does not go to the government’s coffers.
“At police stations, there is no way you won’t part with money to free a client whether the person committed a crime or not. If one decides to not give, they will frustrate one. They will not release the client.”
When FIJ contacted him, the Lagos Police Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, said the police were not aware that officers at the Ikorodu Police Station and the State CID Alagbon collect money for bail. He explained that the police have over 50 pending cases of extortion, and as such, issues such as this should be reported to the police command.
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