The Lagos State Police Command has launched investigation into an alleged case of extortion, unlawful detention and sexual harassment against the Officer in Charge (OC), Anti-Kidnapping Squad, Lagos State Police Command, identified simply as Mr. Adejobi.
Mr. Adejobi is accused of colluding with other officers under him to wrongfully detain one Ms. Blessing on August 29. He also allegedly demanded N70,000 from relatives of the woman as bail charges.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that Ms. Blessing, a single mother of two, was arrested and detained on August 29 on the allegation that she stole the $50,000 belonging to her colleague, one Abiola Osagie.
Mrs. Osagie reportedly claimed that she left the $50,000 in a bag in her office and travelled for three weeks and when she returned, she discovered that the money was gone. She immediately accused Ms. Blessing because she (Ms. Blessing) had a key to the office and was in charge of delegating people to sweep that office.
Mrs. Osagie reported the matter at Ikoyi Police Station and Ms. Blessing was arrested on August 29. But after investigation, which included a search on Ms. Blessing’s home and a check on her bank account, the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, advised that she should be released.
But not satisfied with the DPO’s investigation and advice, Mrs. Osagie later took the matter to the Anti-Kidnapping and Cultism Unit of the Lagos State Police Command under the charge of Mr. Adejobi and one other officer identified simply as ‘Igbin’ as Investigating Police Officer, IPO.
Consequently, Mr. Adejobi allegedly ordered that Ms. Blessing be locked up among suspected cultists and kidnappers and refused entreaties to grant her bail or charge her to court.
Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday, Okechukwu Nwanguma, National Coordinator of the Network on Police Reform in Nigeria, NOPRIN, said Mr. Adejobi persistently ignored requests and pleas from Ms. Blessing’s relatives and others to grant her bail or charge her to court.
On September 1, Ms. Blessing’s family was allegedly asked to provide two people with valid passports, N2 million in bank account, property that has Change of Ownership (CofO) to take her on bail.
“The policemen also demanded N70, 000 as part of the conditions for bail,” Mr. Nwanguma added.
Meanwhile, the sum of N50, 000 was raised by the family member, PREMIUM TIMES learnt, and the OC allegedly refused to grant her bail, insisting that the money must be complete.
After much pleading, the OC eventually ‘granted Blessing bail’, but allegedly held unto her mobile phone and said they would only release the phone on September 5, if she comes with the balance of N20,000, the victim’s family allege.
Meanwhile, Ms. Blessing’s sister, one Florence, who took food to the station while her sister was in custody, also alleged that each time she went to the station to drop food, some male police officers always ‘searched’ her, asked her to strip naked, fondled her breasts and inserted their hands inside her private part.
The new Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Imohimi Edgal, has been alerted about the case and promised to intervene in the case.
When contacted by PREMIUM TIMES Sunday afternoon, Mr. Adejobi told our correspondent that there was no iota of truth in the story as recounted by Ms. Blessing and her sisters. He, however, declined to speak further on what transpired, referring our correspondent to the Lagos Police Public Relations Officer, Olarinde Famous-Cole.
When contacted, Mr. Famous-Cole told PREMIUM TIMES that the command will issue a press statement on the issue soon. He, however, added that the IPO in charge has been summoned for questioning.
“The matter is under investigations and the (Lagos) command is looking into it,” he said.
On his part, Mr. Nwanguma called on the police authorities to thoroughly investigate the case and ensure that those found culpable are appropriately sanctioned.