Police officers from Pedro Station, Shomolu, Lagos, have arrested one Musa Hassan, a resident of Bariga and demanded that he call friends to raise a N200,000 bail.
Hassan had boarded Uber, a popular e-hailing service, at about 12 pm in Bariga when he was stopped by policemen who dismissed the driver and drove him to their station for questioning.
An hour later, Hassan’s friends received distress calls to send money into his account to meet the bail condition, similar to how kidnappers operate around the country.
According to Tobi, Hassan’s friend who spoke with FIJ, he heard a policeman say in Pidgin English, “If this one no get money, call another person wey fit come bail you.”
He said while the money was being donated, he reached out for legal help and was advised to contact the Intelligence Response Squad (IRS).
Tobi said, “We were raising the money, it remained N10,000, but then I called the IRS and they said I should call Hassan’s number so he could give the phone to the police. But when I called, they (the police officers) refused to speak. One woman at the counter was just saying, ‘I am innocent o. I don’t know anything. I was not there.'”
When contacted, Rotimi Odutona, the DPO of Shomolu Police Division, said he was not in the office but would follow up on the matter.
After Odutona’s reaction, FIJ learnt that Tobi was called by a suspected police officer attached to the station, threatening to track, arrest and jail him, while cursing him and his family for involving the DPO.
Musa was released to his mother and sister in the evening of Tuesday, after at least N50,000 had been paid to the police. He would later reveal that Odutona was in the office when FIJ called, contrary to what the police boss said.
Musa said it was Odutona who approved his detention and that he was aware of the ransom demand.
Odutona failed to respond to text messages sent to him by FIJ to confirm his involvement in Hassan’s arrest and extortion.
The DPO, FIJ would later learn, has a history of notoriety. In 2019, when he was the DPO of Ijora-Badia Police Division, he fractured the left hand and leg of Saheed Akinboye, a carpenter, while assaulting him at the station, according to a report by The PUNCH.
Odutona was said to have beaten Akinboye with a baton during interrogation.
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