Operatives of the Lagos State Police Command Tuesday destroyed a shrine allegedly used by the Oodua Peoples’ Congress (OPC) to try suspects.
The shrine, which was situated under the Opebi Link Bridge, off Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way, Ikeja, was allegedly used by the local vigilante to torture, extort victims.
Residents and artisans accused the vigilantes of open torture and use of force on victims, adding that they usually opened a case file and dragged an alleged suspect to their shrine.
Police Commissioner Imohimi Edgal who led detectives to the place, said three suspects were apprehended, adding that three Point Of Sales (POS) machines, mobile phones and Automated Teller Machines (ATM) cards were recovered.
Edgal said: “Officials of the Lagos Neighbourhood Safety Corp (LNSC) informed the command of suspicious movement of people in and out of the shrine. On the strength of the information, I directed the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) Ikeja to investigate.
“A team of undercover policemen led by the DPO mounted surveillance around the area. So yesterday, officials of LNSC saw a man being dragged into the shrine. They were attracted to the place by the screaming they heard coming from the victim.
“They quickly informed the DPO who moved his men to the scene where three persons were arrested and the victim rescued.
“In as much as we believe in community policing and community partnership, let me sound a note of warning to any group of persons, who may want to take laws into their hands that the command will deal decisively with them.
“Members of OPC have been helpful to the command in the past. We see them as partners. But as you can see, some group of persons under the guise of OPC have erected an office under the Opebi link bridge, where they conduct trial by ordeal.
“They also have a shrine here where they take victims to. I believe that they force victims to take oath. We will not tolerate this in any part of the state.
“Three persons have been arrested. A victim was freed. We are investigating and all those behind this barbaric act will soon be rounded up. When they are arrested they will be made to face the wrath of the law.”
Continuing, Edgal said those already arrested were being interrogated to unravel why they detained people.
“As a law abiding citizen, you are only allowed to arrest and after which the suspect is handed over to the police who have the constitutional responsibility to investigate and prosecute.
“What are POS machines doing inside their office? Investigation has revealed that some robbers go about with POS machines. They make their victims transfer money to their account at gunpoint. We are going to be thorough in our investigation. We will not allow any miscreant run amock in Lagos.
“I have also ordered that the shrine and the office be demolished,” he said.
– The Nation