The Lagos State Acting Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi, has removed the Officer-in-Charge of the Anti-Kidnapping and Anti-Cultism Squad, State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, CSP Akinade Adejobi.
Imohimi, in a statement issued on Monday by the state Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Olarinde Famous-Cole, said Adejobi should report to the command headquarters in Ikeja, Lagos State.
Adejobi and his men at the Anti-Kidnapping and Anti-Cultism Squad on Hogan Bassey Crescent, Surulere, were alleged to have taken N50,000 before granting bail to one Blessing Taiwo, who was arrested for alleged theft.
The cops were also alleged to have seized the victim’s phone pending when a balance of N20,000 would be paid on Tuesday (today).
Blessing’s sister, Florence, had alleged that she (Florence) was sexually harassed by the policemen, who touched her private parts and breasts anytime she took food to her sister in the cell.
She had said one of the policemen had also been pestering her with telephone calls, asking for a date.
Our correspondent had reported that the matter started after Blessing’s boss, Mrs. Abiola Osagie, accused her of stealing $50,000 kept in their office in Ikoyi.
Osagie had said she was away on a trip and had returned to discover that the money was missing.
The matter was reported at the Ikoyi Police Division from where it was transferred to the SCIID, Yaba. It was later referred to the Anti-Kidnapping and Anti-Cultism Squad in Surulere.
PUNCH Metro reported that Adejobi refused to grant the suspect bail after she was detained on Wednesday.
However, when the mother of two was eventually released on Saturday, the sum of N50,000 was paid by the family amidst allegations of sexual harassment of her sister, Florence.
Famous-Cole said the CP had removed the OC to ensure that adequate investigation was conducted into the case.
He said, “The new Commissioner of Police has requested that all parties involved should come for an interview at the police command on September 5, 2017, at 9am, including the alleged victim.
“The CP has also directed the Deputy Commissioner of Police, SCIID, Panti, to commence a discreet and in-depth investigation into the allegation of the police action.
“To ensure an impartial investigation, the CP has ordered the immediate removal of the O/C Anti-Kidnapping, CSP Adejobi, (and his return) to the command.
“The Ag/CP Edgal Imohimi is worried about this allegation and wants justice to be done. The new CP is reassuring Lagosians that every officer found indicted by their actions or inactions, in regard with this matter, will face the full weight of police regulations.
“The era of slap on the wrist of policemen, whose behaviour tarnish the force, is over. The new CP has zero tolerance for any form of indiscipline and corruption.”
The National Coordinator, Network on Police Reform in Nigeria, Okechukwu Nwanguma, commended the police for Adejobi’s removal.
Nwanguma urged the CP to ensure that the money was refunded, while a public apology should be tendered.
He said, “Public trust, confidence and support are inevitable preconditions for effective policing. The CP has started to lead by example and NOPRIN urges him to remain steadfast in promoting professionalism and respect for human rights in police conduct and operations.
“It is our expectation that the ongoing police investigation into the allegations will lead to the recovery of the N50,000 extorted from Blessing for bail, release of her phone seized by the OC pending when she brings the balance of the total amount demanded for her bail. We also call for appropriate legal remedies to the victims (Blessing, and her younger sister, Florence) for the violation of their fundamental rights, including a public apology, as well as appropriate sanctions for all the police officers responsible, as a deterrent to others.”
Meanwhile, Nigerians have called on Imohimi to overhaul the police system in the state, saying bribery had become second nature to the Force.
On PUNCH Online, many readers called for a thorough investigation of all the parties involved in the case.
A reader with the name, Netanyahu, wondered how a case of stealing ended up with the anti-kidnap team.
He said, “With this type of police, you will be wasting time claiming you are fighting corruption. Stealing of public money by politically exposed persons is not the real definition of corruption. A society that allows the type of police system we have is doomed. Policemen who brazenly extort money from motorists on the highways without qualms are fit for the animal farm. Tell me how money suspected to have been stolen from an office became a kidnapping offence or a cult-related case. Nigeria is irredeemably a wasteland.”
Another reader, Laddeck, said, “The Lagos State Police Command is the most corrupt in the country. I don’t know why. May be it is because of the huge economy and money in circulation in Lagos. The SCIID, Panti, should have been disbanded a long time ago. They are most notorious for their human rights violation….right from the top to the least policeman there. If your case is transferred to Panti…just know you are in trouble; whether you are guilty or innocent. I won’t be surprised if the policemen smoke weed occasionally there. I dislike Nigerian policemen with passion. I’ve never seen one of them that I admire and respect. It’s like an evil spirit descends on them whenever they wear uniforms.”
One Deji F., who commended the CP for the removal of the OC, wondered where Adejobi would be posted to.
He said, “The CP’s move is a good step in the right direction, but where the OC will be moved to is another big question. As I type this post, I can authoritatively and confidently tell everyone that in this broad daylight, police officers are at Iyana Iba, en route from Igando immediately after LASU gate, collecting bribes from motorists. What a nation, where is patriotism?”
www.sojworld.com © September 5, 2017.