A yet-to-be-identified man, who impersonated one of the policemen attached to the Idimu Police Station has stolen the mobile phone of an artisan, Kehinde Adesina, on the premises of the station in the Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State.
PUNCH Metro gathered that policemen attached to the station arrested the 35-year-old artisan on Tuesday, June 6, for violating the traffic rule in the state.
The policemen subsequently took Adesina to the police station where they were said to have demanded N20,000 from him to release his vehicle.
Speaking with our correspondent, the artisan said he complained to the policemen that he had no means to raise such an amount and the policemen instructed him to leave their office.
He, however, noted that he was still on the premises of the station when the suspect approached him, introduced himself as a policeman and offered to assist him in securing the release of his vehicle.
Adesina said, “When we got to the police station, the policemen asked me to pay N20,000 for my offence and later reduced it to N10,000 but I told them I don’t that amount and they asked me to leave.
“So, a man wearing a mufti approached and offered to help me talk to the policemen. He went into their office to discuss with them, returned and demanded N3000 for the policemen and my phone to make a call.
“When I gave him the phone, he went back into the office to meet the policemen and later came out to inform me that one of the policemen, Supol Peter, needed a recharge card. Supol Peter also came out and said I should buy Airtel and not an MTN recharge card.”
Adeshina said he quickly went to purchase the recharge card but when he returned and handed it over to Supol Peter, the suspect was nowhere to be found.
“When I asked the policeman (Supol Peter) for the man’s whereabouts, he said he thought he was my brother,” adding that the policeman started abusing him for giving his phone to a stranger.
Adesina noted that the policemen quickly gave him the key to his car but denied him access to make an official complaint about his stolen phone.
Angered by the development, the artisan, who was bent on raising the alarm over the action of the policemen, contacted our correspondent, who accompanied him to the police station for him to lodge an official complaint for the case to be investigated.
While at the station, our correspondent observed the female officers at the counter demanding N3000 before allowing Adeshina to write a statement for an investigation to commence on the matter.
Despite lamenting that it was a case of theft that happened at the station the policewomen ensured that he parted with N1000 before he was able to lodge a complaint and thereafter directed him to the office of the policemen who arrested him for a traffic offence in the state.
While inside the office, our correspondent saw six policemen including Supol Peter who confirmed the case on Adeshina’s stolen phone.
“He (Adeshina) said the man (suspect) was his brother. It was when he brought the recharge card that I got to know that he was not. That was why we gave him the car key and we also told him to get the pack of the phone so that we can track it,” Supol Peter said.
The leader of the police squad involved in apprehending Adeshina for the traffic offence, one Baale, said the fleeing suspect almost scammed another person earlier before he stole the artisan’s phone.
A yet-to-be-identified female officer, who interfered in the matter, also confirmed cases of theft in the station.
She said, “It (phone stealing) did not happen in this station alone. It also happened in some police stations around. This is not the first time. The phone of this woman sitting here was also stolen here on this table.”
The Executive Director of the Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Center, Okechucku Nwanguma, described the incident as embarrassing.
He said, “It is strange to hear this kind of story happening in a police station because I don’t know how somebody who is not a police officer would have the effrontery to go to a police station and stand there to lure people and trick them and the police will say they don’t know.
“And if such a thing has happened before and it is happening again, then I suspect insider collusion. It is embarrassing and a shame for them to say there are cases of theft in the police station. There is a possibility of an existing criminal string in the station and the higher authorities need to unravel this, including the DPO.”
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin, said, “I don’t see anything wrong in two civilians talking in a police station. He gave someone his phone and the person went away with the phone. It’s his carelessness.
“We will investigate the whereabouts of the person who collected the phone and the money for him to come and tell us who exactly offered or demanded bribe between the officer and the man.”