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Lagos Businessman Laments Unending Police Raids, Extortion

A Lagos businessman, Idowu Makanjuola, has lamented alleged victimisation and extortion by men of the Nigeria Police Force.

It was gathered that Makanjuola ran a viewing centre, among other businesses, in the Ijora area of Lagos State.

Why are Policemen in Lagos "extorting" him for money?

His predicament according to The Punch, reportedly started in 2013 when he had a disagreement with one Emmanuel Chika, a customer.

After the disagreement, Chika allegedly made allegations against Makanjuola and he was arrested by policemen from the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Yaba; Area B Command; Ijora Police Station and the Special Anti-Robbery Squad.

According to the victim, the police allegedly searched his shop unannounced, packed his equipment and arrested people in his viewing centre.

Makanjuola claimed that he paid between N250,000 to N350,000 for bail of his customers, as the alleged harassment continued unabated.

He said, “I have been in business for more than 25 years. In 2013, Emmanuel Chika came to one of my viewing centres at Ijora Railway. He claimed to be a policeman and he was given a preferential treatment.

“He was always around and I had to ask him why he did not go for his duty despite being a policeman. He told me that he worked with the SCIID, Yaba.

“From watching football matches for free, he graduated to borrowing money from me, which he, at first, usually paid back. He then requested N20,000, which I gave him but he returned.

“I became suspicious and asked other policemen coming to my centre if he was truly a policeman. That was when I was told that he was a police informant. After that, I asked him to stop coming to my shop.”

Makanjuola said he was not initially aware that Chika was the one behind the police extortion that followed their separation until he (Makanjuola) confronted him.

“Two weeks after I told him to stop coming to my centre, some operatives from the SCIID came to search my shop. They said they were looking for guns. When they did not find any gun, they arrested my customers. I bailed them with N350,000 so that I would not lose customers.

When they came to raid my centre the second time, some policemen told me that someone was behind the invasions. They said I should go and settle with whoever I had a disagreement with. They collected another N250,000 from me.

“Later, a man came to tell me that Chika was the police informant. He told the man that I embarrassed him and that he was going to ruin me. I went to beg him, but he told me that we were not fighting. The third time officers from the SCIID came again, I was made to part with N270,000.

“Between 2013 and 2018, I had been raided by the SCIID three times; Area B Command three times; Ijora Badia Police Station, three times; and SARS twice for alleged possession of guns. Every time they came, I parted with huge sums of money,” he added.

The Kwara State indigene explained that it took the intervention of a human rights organisation, Spaces for Change, to secure his release the last time he was arrested and detained in April 2018.

“Even when the human rights organisation came to my rescue, the men of the SCIID still extorted N90,000 from my family.

“I have not been raided since then, but Chika is still threatening that he is not done with me,” he said.

When Chika was contacted by The Punch, he said the allegations were false, adding that Makanjuola was the culprit.

He said, “I am not a policeman. I am into oil business. Makanjuola shows X-rated movies. There was a time he threatened me, saying I invited the police to raid his shop. The police, however, told him that anywhere they showed X-rated movies, the police would raid such a place to see if there were bad people there.

“In 2017, I was robbed at a knife-point. I reported the matter at the Area B Command. About four months ago, someone came to grab me. When I turned around, I saw that it was a familiar face. We dragged each other to the Ijora Police Station. I told the DPO that the matter would not be handled there because I had earlier reported at the Area B Police Command. When we got to Area B, I told them that he threatened me with a knife and I wanted it referred to the state command. The matter was referred to SARS. His lawyer and family pleaded with me not to send him to prison and I withdrew the case.”

Reacting, the Police PRO, SP Chike Oti, said Makanjuola was not clean.

He said, “When a vulture is found hovering at the same spot frequently, it means there is something there. When police frequently visits a particular person or a place, it suggests that there is something fishy. However, if he feels his rights have been trampled upon, let him put it into writing and forward it to the Commissioner of Police for investigation. He should also be honest enough to tell the public why he had been incessantly raided and what he is into that is attracting security operatives.”