Nigerian police officers extort over N1m from student at gunpoint

A Nigerian student has narrated how some police officers at gunpoint extorted over N1 million from him.
The incident reportedly happened around 1 p.m. on Saturday in Benin, Edo State, Nigeria’s South-south.
The student, Clement Ehinomen told newsmen, Monday, that about four officers inside a bus used their vehicle to abruptly block his car a Mercedes Benz GLK in the middle of the road, and then forced him, and a male relative, out of the car.
All the officers were armed and were pointing their guns at him, Mr Ehinomen, 24, said.
The bus was not painted with police colours and the officers were not wearing police uniform, which made Mr Ehinomen to be confused if they were really police officers or robbers.
“They wore black t-shirts and jeans trousers. I was scared, I was crying. They operated like armed robbers,” he said.
“I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, and I don’t drive recklessly. They asked me for my driver’s licence and car particulars, I gave them. They checked my car, checked the spare tire, everything was intact.”
After the car was searched and nothing incriminating was found, the officers took Mr Ehinomen and his relative, whom he said was feeling unwell, to a “lonely” police facility in the outskirts of Benin where they were detained in a police cell.
Mr Ehinomen said the officers forced him to call friends and relatives to wire money into his bank account so he could hand it over to them.
“They told me to start calling people who could give me N7 million or else they would not leave me,” Mr Ehinomen said. “They started taking me around the town.”
Mr Ehinomen said he called a friend who transferred N1 million to his account. One person sent N50,000, while another sent N14,000.
Apparently to avoid the money being traced to them, the officers refused to have it transferred to them electronically, they preferred cash.
“They (the officers) said they would not receive the money in their account, so they took me to a POS to withdraw all the money. When I was withdrawing the money, the person (the POS operator) asked me why I was withdrawing a huge amount of money.
“The police (officers) saw me talking to the person, they came out from their vehicle and started slapping me.
“They collected the money from me, took me to the police station and released me and my brother.”
That was around 8 p.m.
The student, not knowing who to report the incident to, took to Twitter to share his ordeal, and was fortunate to attract the intervention of individuals and groups, including Segun Awosanya, a human rights activist, popularly known as Segalink.
From there, Mr Ehinomen got a call from the spokesperson of the police in Edo State, Bello Katongs.
Mr Katongs, Tuesday, confirmed the incident but said the police wanted to be sure the people who did it were truly officers.
Mr Katongs said he met with the victim, Mr Ehinomen, and that they were planning to go out with him “to identify if the people are truly police officers.”
He got back his money
Mr Ehinomen on Monday uploaded on twitter a photo showing wads of naira notes on a table.
“We thank God. I have received my money and the officers have been detained. I saw them,” he wrote.
“They started profiling me because they saw me drive a flashy car,” he responded.
“With the way they acted, there’s no hope for anybody in this country. I would definitely demand they should be dismissed (from the police),” he added.
Mr Awosanya, in his twitter post on the extortion, advised Nigerians to avoid generalisation when discussing corruption in the police.
“The same police institution have officers ready to assist in fighting crime within the system provided we report with evidence,” he said.
The police spokesperson in Edo, Mr Katongs did not respond to further calls and a text message seeking to know what action the police would take against the erring officers.


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