A Lagos-based transporter has cried out for help after some operatives of the Zone 2 Police Headquarters who allegedly arrested his trucks and drivers forcibly extorted him of over N2.5 million reports KUNLE AKINRINADE.
Kamardeen Onikunkewu had no inkling of the fate that awaited him on August 3 when he rushed out of his home to seek the release of his drivers from the grip of policemen attached to Zone 2 headquarters, Lagos. The truck drivers were said to be on their way to deliver some goods for a food processing company when they were flagged down by the cops around the Sagamu axis of Ogun State.
Onikunkewu, who is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Olaiya Logistics Limited, said he tried to intervene in the matter for possible release of his drivers and trucks with registration numbers BDG 227 YD and APP 730 YA when the police team assaulted and extorted him to the tune of over N2.5 million, which they forced him to transfer in various sums to some POS operators (Omolara and Kehinde and Aminat) who in turn released the money in cash to the policemen.
He said: “On August 4, 2023, I got a call from one Kazeem who said that one Joshua gave him my contact and that he wanted to hire my trucks to deliver some goods for his employers, a food processing company, in Abuja. I knew the said Joshua was one of the leading persons that give me haulage jobs hence I accepted to deliver the goods for N750,000 but we eventually settled for N600,000.
”I went to the location where the goods were being loaded into the trucks and I gave my drivers and their assistants some money for their trip and left the place. I demanded an upfront payment after the goods were loaded into my trucks but I was told that I would be paid afterwards. Strangely, when my drivers gave me the waybill of the job, I saw Auchi, Delta State, and Oyo on the document.
“While the trucks were waiting to fuel, they were again asked to proceed to Mile 2 to pick up some goods. So I asked my drivers to take the trucks back to the yard.
“It was while they were trying to park the trucks that some policemen from Zone 2 headquarters stormed the place and arrested my drivers.” The transporter explained that when he was told that the police had intercepted his drivers and trucks, he quickly rushed to the scene and tried to introduce himself as the owner of the vehicles, but his intervention was met with severe brutality that left him with serious injuries.
“When I went to the policemen, they came up with various reasons for arresting my drivers and trucks. First, they claimed my drivers were smoking Indian hemp, and they later said they were caught with some prostitutes.
“They demanded that I get them some drinks before we could talk about securing freedom for my driver and trucks.
“They said the only thing that could enable us to discuss how to prevent my drivers and trucks from being taken to their office was if I paid for the beer they bought from a woman at the filling station where my trucks were intercepted.
“They collected my ATM and paid for the drinks.
“Before then, they had collected my phone, and as I was about to pee at a spot near the fuelling point, they saw the balance on my bank account when the notification of the payment for their drinks was sent to my phone. They pounced on me from behind and hit me with the butt of their rifles.
“When I asked why I was being brutalised, they further dealt me slaps and blows and threatened to demobilise me completely if I did not cooperate with them.
“They beat me mercilessly and dragged me into their patrol vehicle in handcuffs and zoomed off to their office where they further kicked and slapped me.
“They dragged me out of their vehicle like a criminal and meted out inhuman treatment to me. They detained me and my drivers and prevented us from reaching out to my family, having seized my phone.
“I was abandoned in the cell at Zone 2 Police headquarters and it was not until one of the top officers went round the cell and asked questions about our continued stay that they allowed us to communicate with our family and friends on the phone.”
Further expatiating, he said: “Not satisfied, the policemen seized my phone and forced me to open it. They scrolled through my phone and checked my transactions, and when they saw that I had about N3 million in my bank account, they invited a POS operator in their premises and forced me to transfer the money to her and subsequently took the money from her in cash.”
“I was detained for two weeks while my drivers spent three weeks in their custody. We begged for food from people who came to see other inmates.
“The money they forcibly collected from me was not mine. It was the proceeds of a vehicle I helped one of my associates named Dokun to sell. Only N800,000 of the total amount taken from me was mine.
“They threatened that I must not tell anybody about what transpired otherwise they would deal with me. They later demanded the sum of N2.6 million in the presence of my lawyer. I begged them for hours but they refused.
“The money was transferred to a female POS operator who in turn shared the cash with the policemen.
“The company that contracted me to deliver goods has since evacuated their goods from my trucks where they were parked at Zone 2, yet the policemen have refused to release my vehicles because I could not give them the additional amount they are demanding in spite of my several visits and pleas to them.
“Now I do not have any money to even feed my family or take care of myself because my trucks are my source of livelihood and they have not been released by the police at Zone 2.
“They put handcuffs on me and wounded me badly and have refused to release my trucks because they are demanding additional money even after they had cleaned out my account.
“They are contemplating charging me in court on false attempted theft.
“The owner of the money they collected from me has been disturbing me for his money and has even threatened to use legal means to retrieve his money while I have also been languishing in want as a result of my travails at the hands of the policemen, who are under the supervision of an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Michael Akindipe a.k.a. Lion.”
A document showing transactions on Onikunkewu’s UBA account sighted by our correspondent revealed that the money was taken from the date of the incident on August 4 to August 12 in various sums from his bank ranging from N100,000 to N300,000 and N1.5 million using different POS operators with the names Salisu Aminat, Omolara Folake, and Kehinde Rasaq.
Contacted through a WhatsApp message and phone conversation, the Public Relations Officer of Zone 2 Police Headquarters Lagos, Hauwa Idri-Adamu, promised to revert to our correspondent.
She, however, had not done so at press time.
By Kunle Akinrinade
For Advert, Event Coverage, Story/Article Publication, Change Of Name & Placement In Newspapers, PR & Other Media Services
Contact Us On: WhatsApp
Send Email To: firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit Citizen NewsNG To Read More Latest And Interesting News