Police Extortion: Commercial Motorists Raise Alarm In Ibadan
....Appeal To Makinde, Oyo CP, IGP To Wade In
Commercial motorists in Ibadan have bemoaned the high rise in the manner in which they were being extorted by police in Ibadan which accroding to them has started taking serious toll on their income at the end of the day.
They equally called on Governor Seyi Makinde, the Commissioner of Police, CP Adebowale Williams, and the new Acting Inspector General of Police (IGP) to come to their rescue.
The motorists lamented that it does not matter if a driver’s papers were in order or not stressing that it was a due every motorists knows he must pay once such person was stopped by the police.
Westernmirror.com.ng correspondent went into different parts of town to hear from commercial motorists on how they were adjusting to the new petrol price regime and removal of fuel subsidy.
The commercial motorists who expressed support and readiness to support the president Bola Tinubu’s government through their cooperation and understanding however, lamented bitterly how they were being extorted by some police officers within Ibadan metropolis especially around Mokola, Iwo Road, Ojoo, and Moniya, and Challenge areas, while going about their legitimate transportation business.
Some of the commercial motorists who spoke last week on condition of anonymity because of the fear of being victimized lamented what they go through in the hands of police officers within the state capital.
It was also gathered from the motorists that several avoidable road accidents have occurred at different locations within the city due to such police conducts on the road leading to needless casualties especially during rush hours either in the morning when workers and students were busy on the road or evening after close of work.
Some other similar conducts which police authorities have repeatedly frowned and warned against include checking of phones, ordering citizens for passwords and flagrantly infringing on their rights to privacy and personal liberty.
Recall that as part of measures to entrench discipline and uphold the sanctity of professionalism, the Abuja Police Command in 2021 announced that it had apprehended no fewer than four personnel involved in extortion and subsequently subjected them to police disciplinary action.
The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) also recently dismissed a corporal attached to Dolphin divisional headquarters, Lagos command for assaulting a person who challenged him for searching a commuter’s mobile phone.
During some recent press briefings and parading of crime suspects at the Oyo state Police Command this year, residents have been repeatedly told to be cautious of unscrupulous elements in the society masquerading themselves as police officers to extort unsuspecting citizens thereby, causing disrepute to the image of the security agency.
The Oyo state police command maintained that no genuine police office personnel would ask citizens for passwords to their mobile phones and other electronic gadgets without a proper court warrant, while urging residents to take advantage of the police toll free 615 and other emergency numbers.
One of the motorists whose route stretches along Mokola Round About to Bus stop, Gate, and Iwo Road axis said it does not matter weather a motorist was right or wrong, a commercial motorist knows he must part with certain amount of money if he did not want to waste a whole day with the police.
Another motorists, an elderly man, who plies his route along Onikoko Estate, Customs, Ikolaba High School, Idi-Ape, Testing ground, areas stated that police officers in these areas have turned collection of tolls from motorists to daily dues noting that whoever failed to comply when stopped by the police would have himself to blame at the end of the day.
Speaking in Yoruba language, the elderly motorist said, “forget about whether you’re right or wrong, just comply and give them their money. It’s a normal daily routine because if you argue or try to explain anything, you would end up achieving nothing at the end of the day and you may even end up paying more than what they initially asked for once taken to their station.
“Sometimes they even allocate numbers to us to enable them identify who has paid his dues to them or not. It is very worrisome because many of us collected these commercial vehicles on hire purchase. We must remit owners money, we must buy petrol to fuel the vehicle at the current rate of about 500 naira per liter.
“Sometimes you may have to spend money on one fault or the other at the mechanic workshop before the close of work. Then you have to also make money to take home to your family. This is like working as a slave and only our leaders can help us out because this is the only source of livelihood we have.
Efforts to reach the Oyo State Police Public Relation Officer (PPRO), SP Adewale Osifeso, for comments proved abortive as his line was being consistently interrupted by bad network reception.