20170908

Update on N50k bail & lady s*xually harassed by policemen

The committee investigating alleged unethical conducts and s*xual harassment of suspects’ family members by policemen attached to Anti-Kidnapping and Anti-Cultism Squad of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Yaba, Lagos State, has started its sitting.

All parties were present at the meeting on Thursday, during which the former Officer-in-Charge of the Anti-Kidnapping and Anti-Cultism Squad, CSP Akinade Adejobi, and his men were quizzed.

Although Lagos Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi, gave the committee seven days to submit its report, Punch gathered that the panel might conclude its investigation on Friday (today).

Recall that a single mum of two, Blessing Taiwo, had been accused by her boss, Mrs. Abiola Osagie, of stealing $50,000.

Osagie, who is the Managing Director of the Ikoyi, Lagos office of AfricInvest, a multinational consulting and equity firm, had alleged that she left the money in the office before going on a trip for a few weeks.

She said by the time she returned, the money had disappeared, adding that 43-year-old Blessing had explanations to give concerning the missing money.

The Abeokuta, Ogun State indigene, was said to have been arrested by policemen from the Ikoyi division, along with Osagie’s driver, Mr. Oluwaseun Sodiya, who was paid N10,000 to clean up the office during his boss’ absence.

The matter was later transferred from the police station to the SCIID, Yaba, from where it was referred to the Anti-Kidnapping and Anti-Cultism Squad, Surulere.

The suspects were detained for four days as the OC, Adejobi, allegedly refused to grant them bail.

He was alleged to have admitted them to bail after Blessing’s family paid N50,000 out of the N70,000 charged for her freedom, while the driver’s family paid N29,000 before he was released.

Blessing’s sister, Florence, alleged that she (Florence) was always harassed by policemen anytime she took food to her sister in the cell, adding that the policemen touched her privates and breasts.

The driver’s wife, Oluwanifemi, also alleged that she was s*xually assaulted, saying one of the policemen caressed her and demanded a date despite knowing that she was married.

The CP, Imohimi, after removing Adejobi as the head of the unit, set up a committee to investigate the allegations. He also returned the original case to the Ikoyi Police Station.

During the Thursday sitting of the committee, the embattled OC allegedly denied knowledge of the s*xual harassment, adding that when he heard of the bail issue, he acted promptly by punishing the policemen involved.

The meeting reportedly started at 11am and ended at 2.15pm.

A source said, “Three people were actually detained: Blessing, the driver, and a cleaner. Blessing’s sister, Folakemi, said she paid N50,000; the driver’s family said they paid N29,000, while the cleaner said his family paid N22,000.

“One of the policemen said to have collected the money, Sheu, denied making any demand for money or collecting anything. But Blessing’s family confronted him with hard evidence.

“They said the man demanded N2m and they thought he was joking. Later, they said they begged him to collect N40,000, but he refused, saying they should make it N200,000 because he would not be able to present N40,000 to his superiors, who will not accept it. In the end, they gave him N50,000.”

Adejobi was reported to have said he was not around on the day of the incident.

The second-in-command of the former OC is expected to present himself for questioning on Friday.

The Divisional Police Officer in charge of the Ikoyi division was asked why he transferred the case to the SCIID.

“The Ikoyi DPO said he transferred the case due to the volume of money involved, which was beyond the capacity of his division. He said he also didn’t have the resources to investigate the case because it could take time and manpower. He said there was no substantial evidence for prosecution. So, he decided to move it to the SCIID.

“The former OC anti-kidnapping, who was asked how the matter got to his section which ordinarily should not be there, said he was a police officer and could investigate any case. He said the matter was referred to him by the Deputy Commissioner of Police, SCIID, Bolaji Salami, and he could not say no to his superior.

“At the end of the day, everybody believes the DCP SCIID, Salami, has a case to answer for sending a case that shouldn’t have gone to anti-kidnapping there. That is the crux of the matter now,” another source said.

Punch gathered that cases of stealing are usually referred to the D3 Section (General Investigation) of the SCIID. It is, however, not clear why Salami referred the case to the Anti-Kidnapping and Anti-Cultism Squad.

On issue of the s*xual harassment, Blessing’s sister, Florence, and the driver’s wife, Oluwanifemi, narrated their ugly experiences as they were questioned by officers from the gender unit.

The source said the victims painted a graphic picture of their ordeal in the hands of the policemen.

The phone number of one of the policemen, said to be in the possession of one of the victims, was reportedly dialled and a mobile application, TrueCaller, revealed his identity.

He is expected to be at the Friday meeting. “Friday is probably going to be the final meeting."