•Yoruba Motorcyclists Pay N3,000-N5,000; Non Yorubas Pay N10,000
By Sodiq Yusuf
Residents of Ipetu-Ijesa in
Oriade Local Government Area of the State
of Osun have alleged operatives of the Nigeria Police Force in the communities of extortion in the wake of the total lockdown declared by the state to halt the spread of COVID-19.
Some angry residents of the town, who spoke in separate interviews with OSUN DEFENDER on Tuesday, said the extortion which began few weeks ago is daily ripping them of their little savings, with the lockdown preventing them from their sources of livelihood.
According to the respondents, the police officers who man several strategic locations in the area resort to impounding motorcycles, over which they are made topay some money before getting released.
The prices they alleged the police have persistently extorted from them ranges from N3, 000 to N5,000 for Yorubas while non-Yorubas were mandated to pay N10,000.
The action of the police officers is inimical to the entrenchment of peace and tranquillity in the community, they said.
A resident of Ipetu-Ijesa, Ahmed Ajobo, said: “The police have been extorting motorcyclists in Ipetu-Ijesa since the lockdown commenced. The Divisional Police Officer of the area, Mr Aliyu is the one coordinating them.
“On Friday afternoon around 2p.m., they arrested my brother, OlajideSegun whose wife had been in labour for three days. He had taken his wife to the hospital for delivery and was returning home to get her delivery kits before the police stopped him at ItaMerin in Ipetu last Friday.
“His motorcycle was impounded and was taken to the police station. When Doctor Olamiju, who owns the hospital spoke with the DPO on phone to explain the situation to him, the DPO refuted.”
Ajobo added that “The doctor who handled my brother’s wife’s child delivery was also at the police station to inform the officers about the situation. He was turned back. Segun was told that on the orders of the DPO, no impounded motorcycle would be released without payment.”
“My brother was finally released around 8:30pm to see his wife after paying N3,000. We are sad. Some of us are only out to get what to eat in the face of the lockdown. The police are using the opportunity to extort us. We could not get drugs for the nursing mother who had just given birth because the police collected everything we had. We want the government to do something about it.
“Currently, there are a lot of motorcycles at the police station. It was very tough to get the money and they denied my brother the opportunity to take delivery kit to his wife while she was in labour. We don’t want the activities of these policemen to go unchecked.”
Chief OladimejiAkinyomade, the OosaMido-Ipo of Ikeji Arakeji was also affected by the development.
Akinyomade alleged that the police operatives took away his motorcycle at Oju-Oja in Ikeji Arakeji while he was trying to get palliatives for his people.
Akinyomade berated the action of the officers which may result to a civil unrest in the towns as the people are agitated by the economic effects of the total lockdown of the state.
“I parked my motorcycle at the front of my brother’s house in a bid to collect some palliatives for the people of my community. They have taken it now to extort money from me. The same happened last night and has been the trend for a while,” the chief said.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, Mrs Yemisi Opalola said the command was not aware, just as she promised that the police authority would investigate and ensure justice is served on the matter.