Osun police extort N1.01m from phone dealers after ‘fixing phone theft’

Oluwadamilola Babatunde, a Lagos state resident and gadget seller, told FIJ how policemen in Osun state extorted N1.01 million from him and his client.

Babatunde accused Sola Afolabi, a police officer attached to Dugbe Police Station in Osogbo, Osun State, of collecting the sum from him and Francis Akuenu, his friend, between May and June.

He said his ordeal began on May 21, when policemen from the Ikeja police station invited him to question him about a phone he had earlier sold to a customer.

The police accused him of selling a stolen phone, and to defend himself, he showed them a receipt confirming that he had bought Akuenu’s phone before selling it to his client. Nevertheless, they arrested him.

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“The police hinted that the phone was stolen,” Babatunde told FIJ. “I showed them the proof of payment for the phone, but they asked me to take it to the Area Command in Ikeja.

“I was arrested that day without a warrant being shown. On May 22, I was transferred together with Akuenu to the state of Osun. I also had a receipt, since he too had bought it from someone before selling it to me.

“When we arrived in Osun, the state police said that we had to pay the bills incurred. They said that the phone was stolen during a robbery incident and I insisted that I knew nothing about it.

“They arrested my client, Akuenu and me, and said that we had to pay for three phones stolen during said robbery.”

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Babatunde said Afolabi asked him and his client for N650,000, N325,000 immediately and N325,000 two weeks after his arrest, if the police could not find the real culprit.

He said they paid Afolabi N325,000 in cash and made a wire transfer of N355,000 on June 4. The officer also made him pay N10,000 to his personal account and demanded that he and Akuenu facilitate the culprit’s arrest by paying logistics costs.

Babatunde’s conversation with Afolabi

“The police didn’t want us to send the money directly to them, so they had us transfer it to a point-of-sale operator and added other charges,” Babatunde explained. “Three days after they accused us of stealing and paying for the phones, they arrested Ifesanwo Bukola, a lady who they said was the real culprit.

“Since then, we have been demanding our money, but the police only gave us N150,000. They said that Bukola gave them N300,000 and that N50,000 had been taken from him as bail, as well as N100,000 for his transportation from Lagos.

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“We incurred a total cost of N1.01 million. In addition to the N650,000 that the police collected for the phones we didn’t steal, we had to buy a new iPhone XS Max for my client at a cost of N200,000 and pay N50,000 for myself and Akuenu. My client also posted a bond of N100,000, and Afolabi still charged us N10,000.”

In a telephone interview, Yemisi Opalola, Public Relations Officer of the Osun State Police Command, told FIJ that he would take action and ensure that the money was reimbursed to the victims.

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