The Rivers State Police Command has confirmed the arrest and detention of four of its operatives who allegedly extorted the sum of N204,000 from a 200-level student of the Ignatius Ajuru University, Port Harcourt, Punch Newspaper reports.
The arrest of the operatives attached to Puff Adder Tactical Unit of the police followed an order by the State Commissioner of Police, Friday Eboka, after a rights group brought the matter to his attention.
The group, the Centre for Basic Rights Protection and Accountability Campaign had led the student, Kingsley Dike, to the CP after the undergraduate reported the matter to the organisation.
The student told newsmen in Port Harcourt that he was on his way home at about 10pm last Friday in a Bolt ride when the policemen waved the car they were in to a stop along Ogbogoro-Egbelu road, near Port Harcourt.
Dike further said the operatives asked him and his colleague to alight from the vehicle, saying a thorough search was conducted on them and the vehicle before they were taken to their base in Aluu (Ikwerre Local Government Area), even though they found nothing incriminating on them.
“They took my phone, asked me to unlock it, scrolled it and asked me to on my data. They didn’t find anything. So, when we got to there (police station), we were was asked to take off our clothes which we did.”
“We were thrown into the cell on the 4th of March and on the 5th of March, 2022 at exactly 8:30am, were asked to come out of the cell.”
“We were asked to write a statement, while we were writing, they beat me up. The policeman that was interviewing me slapped me three times, forcing me to write that I am an internet fraudster (yahoo boy).”
“They (policemen) were also beating another victim behind their office.”
“With the fear in me I wrote that I was an internet fraudster. After writing the statement, he said I should bring N150,000 to bail myself.”
“I told him I had no money, that the only money I had was for my school fees and it was with my mother. He said I should call my mother on the telephone and ask her to transfer the money to my account,” he stated.
Continuing, the student said, “So, I called my mum and informed her of the situation. She was shocked and started crying. She then transferred N150,000 to my account with fear.”
“One Seargent Eze, who was among those that stopped our vehicle, wrote an account number and ask me to transfer the money to that account.”
Before then, a relative of the other victim they were beating was asked to pay his own money to my account so that we can pay all the money into the account that Seargent Eze brought.
“So, the victim’s relative sent the money to my account as ordered by Seargent Eze and I transferred N204,000 to the account number Eze gave to me.”
“After then I was threatened and told never to mention what had happened to anyone. That I will be dealt with if I do.”
“So, after paying the money I left and went home,” Dike narrated tearfully.
When contacted, the State Commissioner for Police, VP Eboka, confirmed the arrest of the operatives, saying the allegation against them was being investigated.
“There was an allegation that policemen extorted money from him. So I ordered the DC-CID (Deputy Commissioner of Police Criminal Investigation Department) to investigate.”
“And those people accused have been arrested and investigation is on to ascertain the truth. So they are with the DC-CID,” Eboka stated.
Speaking on the development, a lawyer with the rights group, Charles Obiorah lauded the CP for his prompt action on the matter.
He, however, urged the police to ensure a thorough investigation into the matter and if any of the officers was found culpable, they should be arraigned in court to serve as a deterrent to others.