A man in Enugu State has narrated how police officers allegedly seized his mobile phones and forced him to pay them N100, 000 for being in possession of a laptop and two SIM cards.
The victim, Ejike Uchenna, in a series of posts on his X handle (formerly known as Twitter) on Monday afternoon, said the incident happened along Enugu-Nsukka Road in Enugu State.
Mr Uchenna is a data analyst and an IT expert, according to details on his X and LinkedIn handles.
How it happened
Mr Uchenna said he was journeying to Nsukka from Enugu Metropolis on Monday morning when police officers flagged down the bus he boarded and asked him to come out of the vehicle.
When he came out of the bus, the officers instructed the bus driver to leave him behind, he said.
He said the officers subsequently searched all his luggage and two phones and checked all his chats on social media, but did not find anything “incriminating.”
The man said the officers later found a laptop in his bag and requested for its receipt, prompting him to tell them that the laptop receipt was at home.
“I asked for my phones to call (my family members) for the receipt, but they already seized the two phones,” he said.
“They saw two SIM cards which I normally use for WIFI, they said that in Enugu State it is illegal to have multiple SIM cards in my bag. They said I must be using them (the SIM cards) for something fishy.”
Mr Uchenna said the officers consequently announced that he would be taken to their station which he agreed, but on the way to the station, the officers demanded for “settlement” from him or they would level allegations of cybercrime against him.
“They also left the road and started moving through a bushy area. I was scared because the amount of threats I received from them on how they will pin accusations to me had me thinking of my life and how bad things could go from good to worse.
“They said they will beat me first and starve me for a full day before they start entertaining any calls or whatever for me, I had to give into their demands because they all had guns,” he narrated.
“At first, they said I should bring N800, 000. But we dragged it till they agreed for me to pay N100, 000. They parked and asked me to withdraw the money and return, which I did and then they stopped another bus for me to enter (and continue the journey),” Mr Uchenna added.
He said the officers waited until he withdrew the money from a Point on Sale (PoS) operator.
A screen grab of his debit alert which he uploaded on the microblogging platform showed that he withdrew the sum of N101,000 from his bank account at exactly 10:32 a.m. on Monday through PoS.
Daniel Ndukwe, the police spokesperson in Enugu State, declined to speak when contacted by PREMIUM TIMES Wednesday morning.
Mr Ndukwe, a deputy superintendent of police, subsequently requested to be contacted via a text message. But he was yet to respond to a text message seeking his comments, several hours later.
No such law
An Enugu-based lawyer, Olu Omotayo told PREMIUM TIMES that there was no law in the state and Nigeria in general prohibiting residents from possessing multiple SIM cards.
Mr Omotayo, who is the president of Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network, said the claim by the police officers was wrong.
“There is no such law in the state or country. Even if there is going to be such a law, it should have been a national law because the issue of telecommunication is regulated by the NCC. No state has power to enact any law in that regard,” he said.
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