By Ifeanyi Okolie
There seem to be no loveÂ lost between someÂ Â policemen attached to Area F, Command in Ikeja, Lagos and their counterparts at the Force Criminal Investigations Department annex, Alagbon, Lagos following alleged invasion and forceful removal of files relating to a case and itâ€˜s exhibits by a serving Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) attached to FCID, annex in Alagbon.
Worse still, the exhibits which included exotic cars and laptops were alleged to have been subsequently disposed by the same police officer who claimed that he was acting on behalf of the then Inspector-General of Police.
Crime Guard learnt that the sordid drama started in December 2, 2008 after one Peter Osuji forwarded a petition on behalf of his in-law, Emeka Ugwu, a Nigerian residing in far away Bronx, United States of America (USA),Â through hisÂ legal adviser, Ralph Eke to the Commander, Area F police command in Ikeja, Lagos, alleging that one Mr. Audu Usman, Abujade Bariu, Hadija Ibrahim, Suleiman Aishat, Mrs. Juliana Ikemefuna and two others unlawfully obtained the sum of N2,275,000 (two million, two hundred
and seventy five thousand naira) jointly contributed by his in-law and friends in Lagos and paid into Oba Akran branch of a fourth generation bank with account number 080401002475 belonging to Audu Usman for the purchase of auction cars from United States.
The petitioner alleged that Audu Usman fraudulently shipped four cars belonging to his in-law to Lagos in his name and that of his sister, Hajia Ibrahim Aishat.Â That they converted twenty two laptops belonging to his in-law for their personal gains.Â In addition, the petitioner alleged that his in-law gave Audu Usman 5,500 UD Dollars as an additional fund for the purchase of the said cars.
Based on this, the Police at Area F swung into action and invited Alhaji Auduâ€™s sister in Lagos and she provided details of the container that was conveying the goods to Nigeria.Â The policemen reportedly kept a close watch on the container while it arrivedÂ the Tin-can Highland sea port.
According to the petitioner, â€œBefore the container was cleared from the port, Alhajiâ€™s sister pleadedÂ with the police to stop both parties from taken ownership of the goods until a proper agreement was reached, which the Area Commander agreed.
So, when the container was cleared (we cleared it) out of the port and the driver of the truck that conveyed the container insisted that we must off-load the cars, we decided to off-load them at Ladipo spare parts market and two policemen were present with us and Alhaji Auduâ€˜s sister as well. All of a sudden, we saw Alhaji Audu with two armed policemen from General Investigations Department, Alagbon.
â€œ TheseÂ policemen told me that I was under arrest.Â I tried to explain to them that the case was under investigation at area F, IkejaÂ but they refused and insisted that I must go with them. The two police officers that came with me from Area F tried to explain that they were already investigating the case but the officers from Alagbon led by an ASP, ignored their colleagues and bundled me into their 306Â Peugeot.
While we were inside the car, the ASP threatened to kill me when we get to the Third Mainland Bridge.Â He claimed that he has orders from the IGP to kill me.
â€œWhen we got to Alagbon, the ASP locked me up in the cell. While I was there, the ASP and his officers went and carried the container we packed at Ladipo to an unknown destination. For those two days I was in the cell, I was beaten up mercilessly. MyÂ family members went to Area F and they sent some policemen to secure myÂ bail.
When the policemen from area F came to Alagbon,Â we learnt they had very serious quarrel with their colleagues that arrested me.Â At the end of the day, they released me on bail.
That was when I learnt that they had sold all the goods inside the container in connivance with the ASP.
â€œAt this stage, we requested for a transfer of the case to a neutral police officer since the ASP has not only refused to allow Area F conclude its investigations but openly connived with the other parties.
Luckily, the case was handed over to another officer, one CSP Christ.Â Â Unfortunately, while the CSP and his team made concerted efforts to getÂ the ASP to answer to allegations against him, the ASP claimed that all he did was according to â€˜orders from IGPâ€˜ and failed to show up for interrogation.Â Later, both the suspects and the ASP started bargaining for amicable settlement but we insisted that they should produce all the goods they sold before we agree on any settlement.
â€œMy present worry is that I have started receiving threat calls aimed at making me accept their conditions for settlement or I will pay dearly for it.Â I refused to cooperate with them not just because their conditions were not favourable to me but for the fact that they also humiliated their colleagues at Area F who were already investigating the case.
Do we have two police force in this country?Â I am passionately calling on the new Inspector-General of Police, Ogbonna Onovo to address this burning issue of policemen, especially from Alagbon, moving to other divisions to forcefully hijack cases without due process.Â It speaks bad of the force and this is the time to stop the injustice being perpetrated by police officers at Alagbon.