A Lagos-based surveyor, Bayo Benson, has accused some personnel of the Nigeria Police Force of illegally arresting, torturing and extorting him.
It was gathered that some policemen from the Federal Capital Territory abducted Benson on Friday, August 14, 2020, in Lakowe, Ibeju-Lekki area of Lagos State, allegedly on the orders of a deputy Commissioner of Police in Abuja, identified simply as Yari.
PUNCH Metro learnt that after the victim was arrested, his house and office in the Itamaga area of Ikorodu were ransacked by the policemen.
Benson, in an interview with our correspondent, alleged that the policemen extorted N300,000 from him before he was released, adding that his apprentice was also detained for recording their activities.
He stated, “One of the companies that I work for called me that some policemen from Abuja were coming to check some of our pieces of land at Lakowe; so, we agreed to meet on August 14, 2020. I went to the place in company with one of the directors of the company and the policemen came in five vehicles.
“When they got there, they were going towards another village called Oko Olomi and I told them that the company did not have land there, but they told me to wait for them that they would soon be back. I waited for three hours before they came back and the policemen said I was under arrest.
“I asked what my offence was, but they said that we should go to the Area ‘J’ Police Command in Ajah, where they showed me a petition by some villagers that some people connived with the state government to take over their land, but my name was not on the petition. I told them that my name was not on the petition and that it was the company’s name that was on it and that if they had any issues with the company, they should deal directly with it.
“They seized my vehicle and my phone, and prevented me from contacting my family and the company that I work for; I was later taken to the Area ‘G’ in Ogba and detained there. I was brought out of the cell on Saturday and taken to my house in Ikorodu barefooted.
“When they got to my house, people were surprised because they had been looking for me and one of my apprentices, who saw them in mufti with guns, started recording them with his phone. They ransacked everywhere in my house looking for a gun, but they could not find any; so, they resorted to searching my land documents and took everything and another vehicle away.”
Benson added, “Some people were able to prevail on them and they promised to release me on Sunday, but that I had to pay N500,000. After much bargaining, they collected N300,000 before I was released.
“When I was about to be released after paying the money, someone sent a report to them that an online medium published about their activities in my house, so the officers insisted that I must produce my apprentice, who recorded them, and when my apprentice came to the station, he was detained and I was released.”
The surveyor added that before he was released, the policemen forced him to make a video denying that he was tortured or extorted.
Benson, who demanded justice, noted that his vehicles and some documents were still with the police.
“I want the police to release my two vehicles and valuable documents that are with them. I have nothing to do with the petition; they found nothing incriminating in my house. I have been going around in chattered vehicles and it is not easy. The humiliation is too much,” he stated.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana, who confirmed the arrest, said the policemen were from the FCT Command.
“The policemen are from the FCT CID; they are not from us; they are here on an official investigation from the FCT Command and they are doing their investigation,” Elkana stated.
When contacted, the FCT Police Public Relations Officer, Anjuguri Manzah, told our correspondent that he was not aware of the matter, adding that he was going to make enquiries.
“I am not aware of this investigation by police officers, but since it has come to my notice now, I will make my enquiries; so, please give me some time to make my enquiries and get back to you,” he said.
However, he had yet to get back to our correspondent as of the time of filing this report.