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01.07.2022 Featured In Lagos, Police Officers Take N120,000 From Thespian Amid Slaps

Published 1st Jul, 2022

By Joseph Adeiye

Oscar Chihurumnanya, a thespian, has narrated how some unknown police officers operating in the Festac area of Lagos extorted N120,000 from him at Rainbow Bus Stop on June 23. 

Chihurumnanya told FIJ that the experience left him traumatised and feeling unsafe. 

“I was on my way to a rehearsal on that Thursday and I boarded a tricycle at ‘second rainbow’ between 9:45 am and 9:50 am. The tricycle was going to get me to the estate where the venue for my rehearsal was,” he said. 

Chihurumnanya told FIJ that he had seen some persons manhandle an individual like a thief as he approached the tricycle park. 

READ ALSO: Lagos Police Extort N26,000 From Trader After Calling Him Fraudster And Cultist

ID CARD WITHOUT IDENTIFICATION

“I was in a hurry because my rehearsal was supposed to begin at 10 am. As I was seated in the tricycle, a man in mufti with a face mask accosted me and flashed his ID card introducing himself as a policeman. He said they were carrying out a stop-and-search exercise and said that I would need to be searched,” Chihurumnanya said. 

Chihurumnanya alighted from the tricycle and the search began. The police officer did not find anything incriminating on him or inside his bag. Chihurumnanya then explained to the officer that the money found in his bag was part of a thrift contribution. 

“He (the police officer) also asked for a means of identification and I showed him my valid NIN slip. According to him, the NIN slip wasn’t substantial, so he asked what my occupation was and I told him that I am an actor, a professional background vocalist and makeup artist.” 

Chihurumnanya said he showed the police officer videos and pictures to prove that he was indeed an actor and artiste. “All this happened right in front of a white mini-bus belonging to the supposed policemen interrogating me.” 

FALSE ACCUSATION

Chihurumnanya said another policeman asked if he was a cyber fraudster. “Shey you sure say you no be ‘Yahoo boy’?” He asked me. ”I told him I was not a fraudster.” 

The officer with Chihurumnanya’s phone typed ‘Yahoo’ into the search column on his phone’s WhatsApp and found a chat with the word. “He slapped me on my face and the other officers pushed me into the bus,” Chihurumnanya said.  

Chihurumnanya said he could not identify any of the police officers. The officer who initially approached him did not allow him to see the details on the identification card he showed. Two officers wore mufti, while three wore the Nigeria Police Force Uniform, and they all wore face masks which concealed their facial features, he said.

READ ALSO: Lagos Police Assault Pundit, Extort N100,000 From Him

‘YOU COULD GO TO JAIL’

“One of the officers told another to cuff my hands and they did. I was utterly speechless. I asked why I was arrested and they continued to slap me while telling me about the legal consequences of being a ‘Yahoo boy’. They said I could go to jail. But when I asked them to read the message that included ‘Yahoo’, they ignored me,” said Chihurumnanya. 

“I asked if I was being taken to the nearest police station, but they kept on yelling and slapping me. They finally said that if I didn’t have up to three million naira to bail myself out of the situation, I was going to be jailed.” 

Chihurumnanya said the officers held him in detention inside their white mini-bus. He believed they were taking him to a police station, but the officers had other ideas. 

“I realised we had driven past First Gate, all the way from Second Rainbow. They finally stopped at a long deserted bridge with a canal on either side and asked me how much money I had in my bank account,”‘ he said.  

“I asked them to take me to the police station again, but they resumed slapping me. One of them threatened to gun me down. He said that nothing was going to happen if they killed me right on that spot.” 

Chihurumnanya told FIJ that the officers were drunk. “I could smell alcohol in their breath and I was terrified. These men could drive me anywhere and harm me, so I pleaded with them.  

“While all of this was going on, my head was down because I was instructed to keep it down. They ensured I didn’t see their name tags. 

“They drove me to an unknown place and asked that I withdraw all I had at a PoS outlet. I had N53,992 in my account, and withdrew N50,700. They collected the receipt and the money. They also collected the thrift contribution money. The thrift contribution was N70,000.  

“They took me back to the bus and checked for the debit alert to confirm how much money I had left. They thought I had N32,000 in my account and started yelling at me until I confirmed it was N3,292 that was left. 

“After that, they finally handed me my bag and my phone and stopped a bike for me. It was already 11am and I had no idea where I was.” 

READ ALSO: For Possessing Crypto App, Lagos Police Extort N40,000 From Student After Detaining Him

RESPONSE FROM LAGOS POLICE COMMAND

Chihurumnanya said that the Lagos State Police Command called him on Wednesday, and Benjamin Hundeyin, the state’s police spokesperson, documented his ordeal. 

FIJ gathered that men claiming to be members of the Lagos police have stopped and harassed numerous persons in a similar fashion in the past. Tweets and reports abound on police officers extorting money from individuals around Festac, Ojo and Okokomaiko in Lagos.

“If you go to Second Rainbow and Ojo,” said Chihurumnanya, “you will see them in those small buses. Some of them don’t really have plate numbers, so you cannot trace them. But they are there and they have been doing this for some time now.”

Published 1st Jul, 2022

By Joseph Adeiye

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