The Lagos State Police Command has arrested five operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad for allegedly harassing a businessman in the state for bribe after seizing his company documents.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Chike Oti, said the men were attached to the Ipakodo base of SARS.
The culprits, according to him, are Inspector Taiwo Omojope, Inspector Arigidi Ebibor, Sergeant Rotimi Adesoba, Sergeant Olalekan Olakunle and Sergeant Friday Oni.
PUNCH Metro had reported that the businessman, Immanuel Ibe-Anyanwu, had gone to a Zenith Bank branch at Ago-Palace Way, Okota, for a transaction when he was approached by one of the cops who took him to where their operational vehicle was parked.
The victim had alleged that after searching his car and perusing his documents without finding anything incriminating, the policemen ordered him to enter the vehicle and take them to his office in the Ikoyi area of the state.
After some arguments, a resident was said to have mediated, urging the policemen to release the 37-year-old.
The cops were alleged to have demanded money from him, as they turned down a telephone call from the police command headquarters.
Ibe-Anyanwu was said to have sneaked into the toilet of the bank on the pretext of going to withdraw money for the cops.
The policemen reportedly removed the number plate of his car after waiting for about two hours.
The victim said he was forced to enter his car and speed off after bank workers asked him to leave the premises.
The state Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi, was reported to have ordered that the policemen be identified and arrested.
The police spokesperson, Oti, had said preliminary investigation showed that the team was led by one Inspector Jude Akhoyemta of SARS, Ikeja.
But on Tuesday, he absolved Akhoyemta of complicity in the crime, saying the culprits were from the Ipakodo base of SARS
He said, “In line with the directive of the Commissioner of Police, the command wishes to inform the public that further enquiry into the allegation of harassment of one Immanuel Ibe-Anyanwu by SARS operatives at Ago-Palace Way, Okota, has revealed the true identities of the policemen involved in the highly regrettable incident.
“The men, numbering five, are from the Ipakodo base of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad and not the Ikeja unit as previously reported.
“The names of the policemen are Inspector Taiwo Omojope, Inspector Arigidi Ebibor, Sergeant Rotimi Adesoba, Sergeant Olalekan Olakunle and Sergeant Friday Oni.
“They are currently undergoing interrogation at the command’s X-Squad Section and will be marched before an adjudicating officer at the Police Provost Department for the commencement of their orderly room trial.”
Meanwhile, a group, Network on Police Reform in Nigeria, has commended the police for swiftly acting on the allegations.
The National Coordinator of the group, Okechukwu Nwanguma, in a statement on Tuesday, said, “…rights abuses breed public resentment for the police and corrode public trust and support.”
He said with deterrent punishments, the police would regain the confidence of Nigerians.