By Evelyn Usman
A 43-year-old man, who has been parading himself as a law enforcement agent, was weekend beaten to a pulp by some youths at Cappa, along Agege Motor Road, Lagos, while attempting to extort an Uber driver.
The suspect, Sunday Joseph, and his fleeing gang members, allegedly specialised in accosting commercial bus and cab drivers, who committed traffic offence, threaten to take their vehicles to the nearest office of the Lagos State Task Force. But on the way, they would extort the drivers.
Joseph, who was clad in a crested Police shirt and Mobile Police trousers, met his waterloo after he intercepted an Uber driver at Ojuelegba, who he accused of intentionally obstructing other road users.
He took over the car keys from the operator, saying he was taking him in the car to the task force’s office at Bolade, Oshodi.
However, on reaching Cappa Bus Stop, a relative of the driver, who turned out to be a Captain in the Nigerian Army, intercepted them.
On sighting the Army man, Joseph jumped out of the vehicle and attempted to escape, only to be apprehended by some youths, who beat him to a pulp. But for the intervention of operatives of the Federal Anti-Robbery Squad, FARS, he would have been lynched.
Joseph, who claimed to be a SPY police and a member of the Nigeria Legion, told Vanguard that he worked in connivance with some policemen attached to the Lagos State Task Force on Environmental and Special Offences and the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA.
According to the father of five, “I had no intention to kidnap the driver or steal the car as insinuated. I arrested a car on Sunday around Ojuelegba. I was inside a commercial bus when the car stopped before traffic light, with it doors opened, blocking the road.
“I got down and asked the driver why he blocked the road and threatened to arrest him, but he said I couldn’t. I called some policemen attached to the Task Force I worked for, but they told me they were at work.
“The driver then called somebody on the phone and passed it to me. The stranger at the other end said I should collect N1,000 from the driver, but because I had already informed the policemen I was bringing him in, I told the driver to keep the money.
“I drove him to Cappa, where I saw one policeman. I stopped and narrated what the man did. Immediately the policeman entered the car, the person who earlier called to tell me to collect N1,000 from the driver, was driving behind. He ordered me to stop. He was addressed as Captain.”
“Immediately the policeman sighted him, he escaped. I also alighted from the car and handed the key to the driver. But he (driver) raised the alarm, calling me a thief. Some people pounced on me.
“When they searched me, they found a knife on me. I never demanded any money from the driver. It was the policeman that demanded N15,000.”
Asked where he got the police polo from, the father of five said: “The trouser is that of the Nigeria Legion, not Mobile Police, while the Polo was given to me in 2003 when Lagos State government wanted to recruit us (Nigeria Legion) to schools.
“I work for the men who claimed to be policemen attached to Task Force and LASTMA. When I apprehend any car, I would call them on phone to come take it to either LASTMA or Task Force office.
“Sometimes, when they take the vehicles into the yard, they might not issue tickets.
“At the end, the owner would part with some money, out of which I would be given N1,000.
“I am a SPY Police and during training I was told we could make arrests, but when this happened, I was not on official duty.”