Akpa Adakole, a 24-year-old cryptocurrency trader, was on his way to Ikeja, Lagos, from Mowe, Ogun State, on October 1, when some police officers attached to the Ojodu Berger Police Station apprehended him and extorted N51,000 from him.
Before the police arrested Adakole at Berger Bus Stop, a bus conductor had warned him not to cross to the other side of the road to board a bus as police officers were stationed there.
“I was amazed because I am not a criminal and I had nothing incriminating on me. However, immediately I crossed to the other side, three police officers approached, demanding to search me,” he said.
On seeing that Adakole agreed to a search, the officers ordered him to enter a police shuttle. But Adakole refused, saying he preferred to be searched.
“When I noticed the men were furious because I did not comply with their orders, I brought out everything in my pockets to show them I had nothing implicating on me,” he said.
“But that was not enough. One of the police officers collected my phone and said I had to follow them to the police station.”
The officer who seized his phone asked that he opened it for a search. He found credit and debits alerts and a balance of N899,000.
“The money in my account enticed them. They began to call me an internet fraudster. One of them asked why I had such an amount as my balance and I told him the money belonged to my elder brother,” said Adakole.
While he insisted the money was not his, the policemen asked for N300,000. Adakole said the men threatened to level false allegations against him, have him arrested and remanded at Ikoyi Prison if he failed to cooperate with them.
Suspecting that his brother could be arrested if he called him to the scene, he opted to bribe the policemen. He told them he would pay N20,000 but that infuriated the officers and they took him to the police station.
The policemen told their Divisional Police Officer (DPO) that they found incriminating evidence on Adakole. At that point, he knew he had to pay to free himself from their web.
“When I told them I would pay what they requested, they took me to a PoS shop nearby to transfer N300,000 via a USSD code,” he said.
But on transferring, the bank requested the last six digits of his ATM card as he had never transferred up to N300,000 at once. He told the policemen what happened, but they insisted that he found a way to transfer the money.
“They let me call my brother after pleading with them. But my brother knew something was wrong when I asked him to call the last six digits of my ATM card,” he said.
Immediately Adakole’s brother called the digits, he safe-locked N800,000. This means that no one, not even his brother, would have access to the N800,000 in the meantime.
On seeing what had happened, the police officers requested for N50,000. After transferring it, they let him go.
“But before they let me go, I wrote a statement. They made me write that I was a fraudster. I guess that was what they wanted to show their DPO,” he said.
FIJ made several calls to CSP Moses Okoro, the DPO of Ojodu Police Station, and Adekunle Ajisebutu, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, but they were not answered. Text messages sent to them were also not responded to.
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