Advertising agent accuses police of protecting robbery suspects
AN advertising agent, Olalekan Olakitan, has accused the Nigeria Police Force of protecting some robbery suspects, who attacked him in the Iyana-ilogbo area of Ogun State.
Olakitan alleged that he was attacked at gunpoint and dispossessed of his valuables by four men on August 21, 2018, around Iyana-ilogbo, while on his way home.
According to him, operatives of the Federal Special Antirobbery Squad were alerted to the incident but before they could get to the scene, the suspects had fled.
Our correspondent learnt that the victim, who was hospitalised after the incident, reported the matter through a petition dated August 24, 2018, to the Zonal Intervention Squad, Zone 2 Command, Obada-oko, Ogun State, and the petition was received by the command on August 30, 2018.
It was gathered that upon the receipt of the petition, the command commenced an investigation into the incident and the suspects were arrested with the pump action rifle they allegedly used to rob the victim.
However, Olakitan alleged that while the investigation was ongoing, family members of the suspects and a retired Divisional Police Officer, who claimed to have sold the gun to the suspects, mounted pressure on him to drop the case.
The victim, who noted that the pressure from the suspects’ families turned to threats to his life and family, said he told the investigating police officer to release the suspects on bail pending when he would be discharged from hospital.
He added that upon their release, the suspects teamed up with some police personnel at the state command headquarters, Eleweran, Abeokuta, to compromise the investigation by accusing him of impersonation.
Olakitan stated, “I was coming back from Abuja on September 17, 2018, and while I went to turn around Iyanailogbo, I was accosted by four non-uniformed policemen, who said they were from the Commissioner of Police, Ogun State Command, and when I asked what the matter was, they said a petition was written against me and that I needed to follow them to the command.
“I followed them and I informed my wife that I would be going to the command, but when we got to Ifo, the policemen said I should give them all my phones and I told them that I could not, but they forcefully took my two phones from me and switched them off.
“When we got to their office around 7.30pm, I was asked what I was doing for a living and I told them that I am a media practitioner and they alleged that I impersonated someone to request money from another person, and when I asked for the person and the petition written against me, the policemen said I should not worry about any petition, but I should just write a statement that I collected money from someone.
“When I asked for the name of the person that I supposedly collected money from, they mentioned the name of one of the suspects who robbed me and I told the policemen that the man was an armed robber and that if I did not see the petition against me, I would not write any statement, but I was tortured and asked to write the statement.
“I was made to write a statement but when they discovered that I was referring to the gun used to rob me in my statement, the policemen harassed me and locked me up in the cell. The next day, one CSP Adesina said they should bring me and when I got to him, he said I was impersonating the police and I asked for the evidence, but the officer asked if I did not know that it was one of them that gave the suspects the gun and I told him that I did not know and that they did not have the right to transfer their gun to anybody.
“On September 19, 2018, the policemen went to Obada to confirm if they collected a gun from the suspects and when we got there, they asked the policemen in Obada if they knew me and those ones said they knew me and that I came to report a case of armed robbery to them. I was taken back to Eleweran that day and I was released the next day.
“On October 10, 2018, I was called to Eleweran and when
I got there, I was told that I would be taken to court and when I asked on what basis, I was told that I impersonated someone and when we got to court on October 11, 2018, I was arraigned, but I was later discharged and acquitted.”
Olakitan added that while the case was ongoing in court, he petitioned the office of the Inspector-general of Police, the Police Service Commission and the office of the Force Public Relations Officer, adding that the office of the FPRO responded and promised to investigate the matter.
The victim further alleged that when one Inspector Atama Francis from the force headquarters contacted him on the matter, requested money before investigation could commence.
He added, “Inspector Atama and other officers came to Ogun State to arrest the suspects and took them to Abuja, but before I could get there, they had released them.
“It was then I realised that the police were working in the suspects’ favour, because it involved one of them and since then, nothing has been done about the matter and if I try to bring it up, the policemen will tell me that I am waging a war against the powerful.
“I want the IG to order an investigation into the matter and let the gun be provided; I want to know the person I supposedly impersonated for which I was taken to court. I want to see the petition written against me. I want the matter to be investigated, but what they are telling me is that I should not pass my boundary, because the suspects are working for highly placed people in the country.”
The Force Public Relation sofficer, Frank Uba, when contacted by PUNCH Metro, stated that investigation had commenced into the matter.
He said, “We have commenced investigation into the matter; there has been a lot of conflicting information at our disposal, which really slowed down the investigation, because we heard that the case was in court and we later found out that it was not in court; but I can confirm that a detailed investigation has commenced.
“I cannot speak on the authenticity of the claims of the victim for now, but every angle to the matter will be investigated.”