By Godwin Oritse

LAGOS—THERE was a mild drama, weekend, in the Apapa area of Lagos, following physical combat between some policemen and members of the Ports Standing Task Team, over the release of a suspect.

Sources close to the team said: “This is not the first time we are raiding this corridor, some of the suspects raided are currently at the ICPC facility and so far, they are making confessions on the people they work for and who they report to.

“But these six suspects are regarded as untouchable. We have carried out about three or four raids before we raided them. We took our time to arrest these boys because we have an idea of who they work for.

“If we succeed with these boys, then 50 per cent of extortion along the port corridor would have been eliminated. Five suspects were arrested while the sixth one, who is the point man of the Area Commander fled. We were able to trace him that same night.

“We already have the names of these ‘Camp boys’ who work for the Police, officials of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Lagos State Traffic Management Agency, LASTMA, and other government officials.”

The source added that some suspects arrested, weekend, by the Ports Standing Task Team for allegedly extorting money from truck drivers at the port corridor, were reportedly taken into custody at the Area ‘B’ Command, Apapa.

Upon a physical interrogation with the suspects, the Commander, Area ‘B’, ACP Umar Dikwa, was said to have ordered the release of one of the suspects, promising to produce him when needed.

He said the demand was turned down by the Task Team, who insisted on moving the suspects from Area ‘B’ to the detention facility of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, for further investigation, “but the Area Commander resisted the move.”

Sources close to the Nigerian Shippers’ Council where the Presidential Task Team, PTT, is domiciled, told Vanguard that about nine members of the task team were detained, stripped of their phones and cameras seized and the contents in the memory card deleted by the Police.

In the heated argument over the movement of the suspects to the ICPC cell in Ikoyi, Lagos, the Coordinator of the Team, Moses Fadipe, who was said to be among those harassed, alerted the Presidency, consequent upon which the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali, was contacted.

It took the directive of IGP Baba to the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, CP Abiodun Alabi before the six suspects were moved to the ICPC detention facility in Ikoyi.

Effort to reach ACP Dikwa was futile as calls to his mobile phone were neither answered nor returned.

Contacted, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, told Vanguard that the Commander did not know members of the Presidential Task Team hence their maltreatment.

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