‘Damilola Yusuf, a worker at the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO), was returning from a party alongside four of his friends at about 5 am on Sunday when police officers flagged down his vehicle near Baystar Hotel, Ekoro Road, Lagos.
According to Yusuf, the officers sneaked an ID card they had seized from a motorist into his wallet to frame him up for impersonation after seeing parcels of money in his booth.
“I showed him my ID card as an importer and explained why I had the money at the time,” he said. “He insisted on checking my wallet so he would be sure I was not an internet fraudster. He saw my ATM cards and that of my wife,” Yusuf told FIJ.
“While checking the wallet, I didn’t know he had sneaked in a driver’s licence belonging to one of the motorists they stopped before me. Suddenly, he ran to meet his Officer-in-Charge at the checkpoint to accuse me of impersonation. I was confused because I just renewed my driver’s licence a day before the incident.”
Olaoluwa Oladipo, one of Yusuf’s friends who was with him that morning, said: “They were too desperate to extort us but could not find anything incriminating that would create that chance.
“They first asked all of us to come out of the vehicle as they began their search. After searching the car, they asked my friend to open the booth before the action escalated into something else.”
While Yusuf was phoning his brother who assisted in the renewal of his licence to know whether he was the one who carelessly put another person’s licence in his wallet, the policeman assumed he had admitted to the crime and would be willing to ‘negotiate his release’.
“My brother called his friend, an officer of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), and confirmed to me that he didn’t make such a mistake,” Yusuf said.
Luckily, the actual owner of the licence returned to meet the rogue policeman for his seized licence and Oladipo overheard them discussing it.
“I was quickly alerted by Oladipo that the policeman indeed set me up with the seized licence of another motorist, so he could have a share of the money he saw in my booth,” Yusuf noted.
Yusuf and his friends were later freed by the Police but they had been delayed for about 45 minutes at the checkpoint.
Before its proscription in October last year, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was notorious for framing innocent Nigerians so they could extort them.
However, officers of other units of the Nigerian Police have exhibited a similar trait. On August 6, FIJ reported how Edward Leera was set up and extrajudicially murdered by officers of the Intelligence Response Unit (IRT), an arm of the Nigerian Police, in Akwa Ibom.
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