Three students of the Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH), Ikorodu, Lagos, were on Friday allegedly arrested and forced by operatives of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), disguised as regular policemen, to pay some money to avoid being falsely charged with cultism.
Narrating the experience to FIJ, a student close to the victim who simply identified as ‘Olakashy’, said his friends were decently dressed and heading home when they were approached by members of SARS disguising as regular police officers who extorted N50,000 from each of them.
They were driven to the police station in a Paragon bus (also called ‘Danfo’), where they saw the Divisional Police Officer before they were locked up.
“They were illegally arrested around Ikorodu Garage roundabout telling them they were suspected cultists who came to fight in that area in the morning,” Olakashy said, declining to reveal the identity of his friends over fears of a reprisal.
“They were detained at the Shagamu road police station close to Ikorodu Roundabout for three hours from about 6pm when they were arrested. They locked them in the cell, eventually telling them to pay N50,000 each after they had been originally told to first pay N85,000.”
Some officers at the Ikorodu roundabout police station are notorious for carrying out arbitrary arrests and asking detainees to pay at least N50,000 in exchange for their release.
FIJ had previously reported how officers at the same station illegally charge N50,000 for bail. Refusal to pay would result in being locked up in bug infested and smelly cells.
Muyiwa Adejobi, the Public Relations Officer of the Police in Lagos, denied that the disbanded SARS unit was still operating in the state.
“We’ll need more information to address this issue of the students,” he said. “He who alleges must provide proof. We don’t have SARS in Lagos, but if anyone introduces himself as SARS, the person is a fake police officer,
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