Police extorts students’ feeding allowance, forces them to miss flight
Posted by News Express | 17 August 2021 | 491 times
•Lagos State Police Commissioner Hakeem Odumosu
. . . Rights group petitions CP, demands probe, prosecution of officers
Human rights group, Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC), has expressed outrage over the conduct of duty policemen in Lagos who recently extorted the upkeep allowance of two students of Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ikwo (FUNAI), Ebonyi State, in addition to forcing them to miss flight.
The rights group in a petition to Lagos State Police Commissioner Hakeem Odumosu explained that the officers on Saturday, August 14 maltreated and extorted Michael Ekene Okonkwo (20) and his friend Udo Chukwu Maduforo, both students of FUNAI, who had left their homes in Lagos and were heading to the Lagos local airport, Ikeja, to board a flight back to school.
RULAAC explained that the vehicle conveying them was stopped by a team of police officers in front of Golden Tulip Hotel on Airport Road at about 11:00 a.m.
RULAAC noted that the police officers searched the boys and despite not finding anything incriminating with them, and despite their explanation that they were students heading to the airport to catch a flight back to their school in Ebonyi State, and their plea to not let them miss their flights, the police officers refused to let them go.
The rights group said the victims were delayed and then allowed to go after extorting the sum of N40,000 from the two of them, adding that the money meant for their upkeep in school was collected.
RULAAC lamented how the victims missed their Air Peace flight scheduled for 11:40 am due to the incident, adding that they had to return home and travelled again at extra cost.
It said in the petition signed by its Executive Director, Okechukwu Nwanguma: “On Saturday, August 14, 2021 Michael Ekene Okonkwo (20) and his friend Udo Chukwu Maduforo, both students of Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ikwo (FUNAI), Ebonyi State left their homes in Lagos and were heading to the Lagos local airport, Ikeja to board a flight back to school.
“The vehicle conveying them was stopped by a team of police officers in front of Golden Tulip Hotel on Airport road at about 11 am.
“The police officers searched the boys and despite not finding anything incriminating with them, and despite their explanation that they are students heading to the airport to catch a flight back to their school in Ebonyi State, and their plea to not let them miss their flights, the police officers refused to let them go.
“A journalist-friend called to draw my attention to this incident and I asked that he gives my number to any of the boys to call me so I may find out what was happening. Michael Ekene’s mother called me minutes later and confirmed that her son and his fellow student going to the airport were held hostage along airport road by some police officers on a stop-and-search operation. She said she was heading to the spot and I asked her to call me as soon as she arrived there for me to hear from the police officers the offence the boys may have committed to warrant their being held hostage.
“Before Mrs. Okonkwo could get to the spot where her son and his colleague were held, her son called her again to tell her that the officers had allowed them to go after extorting the sum of N40,000 from the two of them, money meant for their upkeep in school. By the time the boys arrived at the airport, their flight had left. They missed their Air Peace flight scheduled for 11:40 am. They had to return home and travelled this morning at extra cost.
“In their own words ‘they harassed us and collected money from us. They delayed us, and one of them pushed me on my face. They searched our bags and didn’t find anything (incriminating) in it but still yet didn’t listen to me after I showed my student ID to them’.
“This is shocking for two reasons. That police officers trained and paid to serve and protect citizens could descend to holding students – young people who could be their children- to ransom and ignored their explanations that they are students going back to school and their plea to let them go – since they were not found with anything incriminating – so that they would not miss their flights. They robbed them of their money and made them miss their flight.
“That in spite the current raging issue of police corruption and abuse of power which has again put Nigeria in the spotlight of international opprobrium, these officers could not be deterred or persuaded to minimise their greed for money acquired through extortion.” RULAAC called on the Commissioner of Police, Lagos Airport Command, to identify the despicable corrupt officers, ensure that they refund the total amount of money they extorted from the students as well as refund the total cost of their tickets.
“The total sum they paid is N66,000. They paid extra N80,400 to reschedule because it was business class. Total was N186,400,” the rights group said.
It also demanded that the officers be made to face disciplinary panel.
RULAAC charged the police boss to take further actions he deem necessary to remedy the violation of the rights of the students, reassure the victims and the general public that the command does not condone or tolerate corruption and abuse of police powers.
Source: News Express
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