An event planner in Lagos State has revealed how men of the Nigerian police force stopped the taxi she had boarded for alleged wrong-way driving and extorted them.
Speaking with SaharaReporters, she said she had a surprise birthday present to deliver to someone at 7 am on Monday and had commenced her journey as early as 5 am from Isolo but was unable to meet up with the appointment on time due to delay by police officers at Agege.
According to her, the taxi driver and others had maintained a straight lane from Ikeja but on getting to a U-turn, drivers who were trying to change direction duplicated the line which confused the officers.
The young woman said the policemen immediately started removing number plates, hitting cars, and deflating some car tyres.
She added that the policemen threatened that the cars would be taken to their station.
The young lady, however, said they were all directed to a mechanic village where other ‘offenders’ were already negotiating with officers on how to pay for the ‘offences’ committed.
“What happened in that scenario was a very commonsensical thing. We were on the right lane and there were others trying to turn. We were on a normal straight lane; we’d been maintaining that lane from Ikeja so (when) we got to that Agege Under Bridge, there were like two lanes. Our lane and another for those who were trying to manoeuvre to turn.
“Suddenly, police officers came to block us that we were passing one way (guilty of wrong-way driving). I was confused, though I’m not the one who drove the car but one-way is a layman English, a road that once it is ‘to’, it is ‘to’ and once it is ‘fro’, it is ‘fro’, I was like how?
“They started removing number plates, hitting the cars, there were about 5 to 6 cars behind us. They removed all the number plates and flattened (defaulted) car tyres. One of them was even dragging the car key with our Uber driver and I was asking them what we had done wrong.
“We were going for a surprise job, a surprise job we were supposed to deliver by 7 am, they delayed (us) till 10 am. We were there for three hours; they said they were taking us to the police station but there was no police van, just a tricycle. We entered our cars and they entered their own Maruwa (tricycle). All of us on that spot followed them to the place they said was a police station; it was not a police station but a mechanic village. There were lots of people there begging them, they had arrested people before us and even while we were there, they kept arresting other people.
“As we got there, I said excuse me, you told us you’d be taking us to a police station, this is not a police station, one of them said really? That I am trying to prove that I’m educated but the moment I saw that people were paying and bargaining, I didn’t know what to do again. I was like everyone has to go through this process. So I asked them what do they want me to do, they said I should bring N15, 000 and I was like for what? What was my offence and the Uber driver is what I use for my regular brand so I couldn’t have left him at the spot, it would not be fair on him. It’s even on a Monday morning. We left home at 5 am because we were coming from Isolo. I asked them N15, 000 for what? What did we do, they just kept on saying you pass one way and they were stinking and smelling; smelling police officers.
“They directed us to another man on their team who asked us to bring 15k and take our car and leave. I said I didn’t have N15, 000 that I was on a job and even the job I was going to deliver, I didn’t make up to 10k. This is the job that I do, why will you delay me this early Monday morning? Later, one of them agreed to the 10k, I begged, I cried, and had to trek to Zenith Bank to withdraw (the cash). I begged them to accept transfer, they said no. I shed tears before they agreed to accept 10k, I made a video of when I gave their boss the N10k and he rejected it, he gave it back to me, after like an hour, he accepted the money.
“I was going for a surprise birthday by 7 am; they delayed us. We got to that spot before 7 am because the job was for 7 am and it was a referral job that I shouldn’t have messed up.
“We later delivered late though but I had to start explaining what happened to the client. When we got to our car and was trying to fix the number plate, one of them said, ‘Madam, this money is not complete’ and I said it’s like you are mad, he said no vex and left.”
She also said the mechanic village where the people were apprehended was close to a police station.
“They might actually be from there (police station). One of them was wearing a uniform and it was written Ogunwonu on it. They are police officers,” she added.
According to her, there was a man at the spot who didn’t have money to pay and resorted to begging but instead, his tyres were deflated.
“He was begging them, they didn’t listen, he was crying like a baby,” she recalled.
Speaking further, she stated that residents and other people nearby were aware of the activities of the officers but no one had the guts to report them.
“As I was giving the officer the money, I told them that they should go and buy coffins for themselves and their family members because they would need it, and they collected it. One woman selling food there said the way I cursed them is very good because they are notorious for that,” she added.