One year after two officers were caught on camera extorting motorists along Ijebu Ode – Ibadan road in Ogun State, the police force is yet to take definite action.
On May 13, 2019, two officers with badge name Oyewole Afolabi and Eniola Olaiya, were caught on camera collecting bribe from a bus driver who was conveying passengers to Ibadan from Ajah, Lagos State.
Like it is obtained in many police check points in Nigeria, motorists without vehicle licence or insurance papers were made to pay bribe while vehicles with complete credentials were harassed as the police carry out extortion on road users.
After getting these officers on camera, this reporter sent evidence of their misconduct to Abayomi Shogunle, former head of police complaints unit in Abuja, who promised to examine the images and issued a tracking number (PCRRU915475).
Meanwhile, the police complaint unit has failed in its promise to citizens to maintain transparency as it refused to take proactive measures on the two officers, one year after complaint was made and a tracking number issued.
While tracking development on the matter, this reporter last year contacted the complaint unit on several occasions.
At a time, the officer at the complaint unit said: “Our engineer is working on our system and that’s why we delayed you. We are going to call you back. We are going to get back to you soon.”
There was a time the complaint unit told our correspondent that the matter was under proper investigation and also promise to carry out necessary steps to discipline officers involved in the illicit acts.
This reporter was informed that the case had been transferred to IGP X-Squad on August 2, 2018 and the IGP X-Squad confirmed to our reporter that: “Yes, actually signal was sent to our office at headquarters to do something about it. But send text message again.”
Since then, nothing has been heard from the police force.
On Sunday, when our correspondent reached out to the unit to get update on the complaint, he was told that “investigation of the matter is at the discretion of the police force. I have tried tracking with the tracking number you gave but it is not working.”
When he pressed further, the complaint unit officer said: “What will it cost if I check or I did not check for you. What is my problem with that”
Due to failure of police force to take proactive measures on complaints, the misconduct of officers persist.
Several articles have been published by media outfits, as well as campaigns for reform and many officers are still yet to give up the act of taking bribes and unduly harassing motorists who try to challenge same.
Just recently, a check on Ijebu Ode – Ibadan expressway shows that the conduct of the police officers is still the same as earlier reported.
Videos of the officers’ conduct, interrogated motorists and passengers were sent to the complaint units.
Checkpoints were put in place to correct lot of atrocities as a result of the thick bushes along the expressway. But officers now use checkpoints to ‘pay their bills.’
In fact, some drivers now include police extortion fee as part of transportation fare, which implies that the conduct of policemen has contributed to the increased sufferings of the masses.
There have also been cases of extra judicial killings by the police against citizens that check their excesses.
Mr Shogunle, former police complaint boss advised Nigerians to avoid speaking “Queen’s English” to police officers on the road so as to avoid problems with them.
Mr Shogunle said people should instead speak “Pidgin” English while communicating with police officers on the road, apparently suggesting that most of the officers not comfortable conversing in English.
Last Monday, the Police issued tips to Nigerians on how to avoid clashes with officers at police checkpoints.