Police officers attached to Area E Festac Police Station, Lagos, have extorted N230,000 from Igun Idowu, a photographer, for having a cryptocurrency application on his phone.
Idowu was on his way to the Festac Immigration Office to renew his passport on Thursday when some police officers asked his driver to stop for a search.
His ordeal began when the officers asked to check his phone but he refused, saying it was an infringement of his constitutional right.
“Seeing I would not give in to their demands, they echoed among themselves to take me to the police station. Two of the officers entered the car, seized one of my phones and ordered the Uber driver to drive to the police station,” Idowu explained.
As the driver entered the police station, the officers in the car began to shout at the top of their voices, asking why he did not unlock his phone.
To avoid being stuck in their den, Idowu unlocked his phone for the police officers to search. However, on sighting a cryptocurrency app, the men concluded he was a criminal.
“The officers said I was a middleman for internet fraudsters who masquerade as bitcoin traders. Next, they said I would have to pay N10 million before they would let me go,” he said.
“I told them I had nothing on me, then they said I would pay N5 million. Later, they said I would pay N1 million.”
After a while, the officers took him to the office of the Assistant Area Commander, saying he was arrested for trading in bitcoin. They also told the commander that he had been pleading because his wedding was around the corner.
“The commander then said they should let me go If I did the proper thing. According to him, the proper thing was to pay N300,000. The men took me out to a nearby POS stand where I paid N230,000 after pleading with them,” he said.
Immediately he transferred the money to the POS owner, the officers demanded that he filmed himself identifying as a fraudster who wanted the police to temper justice with mercy.
However, while the transaction was going on, the Uber driver called Idowu’s wife who had booked the ride, telling her what had happened.
“My wife had to reach out to some prominent people. After I left the police station, the officers transferred N200,000 back to me, while they kept N30,000 to themselves,” he said.
FIJ placed several calls to CSP Adekunle Ajisebutu, Lagos police spokesperson, but they were not answered. A text message sent to him was also not responded to.
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