Chigozie Okafor, a graduate of the Michael Opara University of Agriculture, has accused police officers attached to Okigwe Police Station in Imo of assaulting him and extorting money from him.
On Monday, Okafor, a commercial bus driver, was en route to Okigwe when some men stopped his bus around the prison in Okigwe.
“They checked my driver’s licence and my car particulars, which I gave to them. They asked me about my change of ownership document and I gave it to them,” Okafor told FIJ.
He thought having all his papers would save him from police net, but he was wrong. One of the officers asked him why he was using a ‘blue number plate’ for transportation.
In Imo, blue numbers are for private vehicles, while red numbers are for commercial vehicles.
“I asked the officer when using the blue number became a crime. I went further to explain to them that I had just graduated and, instead of staying idly at home, I decided to make money for myself by driving,” Okafor told FIJ.
“In other places in Imo, people use blue numbers for public transport, and no one stops them. I had also used many popular roads and no officer had stopped me at any checkpoint.”
The officers would not listen. They demanded that he pay them N30,000. When Okafor refused to pay, the officers arrested him and confiscated his bus and phone.
“They took me to their police station because I refused to bribe them. After spending some time in their station, they gave me my phone and asked that I call someone to come and bail me,” Okafor FIJ.
Okafor then called an acquaintance, who later paid N17,000 before the police freed him.
“One would not even know they were officers because of how they were dressed. And their extortion in this area is getting out of hand,” he said.
FIJ called Michael Abattam, Imo State Police spokesperson, but his lines were not reachable. At press time, he had also not responded to a text sent to him.
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