Sagamu Residents Call For DPO’s Removal Over Extortion | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Sagamu Residents Call For DPO’s Removal Over Extortion

Posted: Mar 1, 2016 at 5:16 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Laide Raheem, Abeokuta

Scores of residents of Sagamu town in Sagamu Local Government Area of Ogun State have called on Mr. Solomon Arase, Inspector General of Police, to investigate the Divisional Police Officer in the town, CSP John Mark, for allegedly turning them into ‘ATM machines’.

The residents trooped out in their hundreds on Monday on a peaceful protest which started from the Palace of Oba Adeniyi Onariwo, the Akarigbo and Paramount Ruler to Remoland, to major streets of the town.

The protesters which included legal practitioners, market women, hoteliers  and youth organisations, bearing placards with inscriptions like, ‘The God of Sagamu rejects John Mark’, ‘Sagamites unite against police extortion’, ‘Save our soul: Oga John Mark has turned Sagamites to his ATM machine’, ‘Bail is free so-they-say,

Sagamites are sick of John Mark’s extortion’, ‘There’s no war/fight in

Sagamu’, etc, went around the streets of Sagamu, chanting the anti-DPO songs.

Barrister Bamgbelu Moses, a legal practitioner who was part of the protest, alleged that the DPO had continually arrested residents for no just cause disclosing would not be allowed to go until huge sum of money is paid.

Moses who further alleged to have witnessed how the DPO allegedly

collected N50,000 from an assault suspect, said that the DPO has also

refused to charge cases to court because of the extortion.

His words: “I came back into the country last year and I met my people

agitating about what the DPO in Sagamu has been doing, extorting money illegally from our people, refusal to charge matters that supposed to go to court to court, and he will forcefully demand a lot of money from our people, that is the reason why we came out today to say enough is enough.

“I have had an encounter with him sometimes in January in the presence

of His Royal Highness, Ewusi of Makun, this man refused to release an assault case; he failed to release the man until he collected the sum of N50,000 before he could release the suspect and many more.

“In my office, I have nothing less than eleven petitions from different people in town; hoteliers, individuals that have forwarded petitions, I have been to the Area Commander’s office to hand over to him, a petition written on behalf of all the youths in Sagamu.

“This DPO is not the first person to work in Sagamu as DPO but he has turned the entire Sagamites into ATM machine. Beginning from 8 a.m., he would be arresting people illegally for no just cause and we have appealed to him times without number, he refused to listen to us and I know the Nigerian  Bar Association is also coming up with their own petition. We are coming out en mass on a peaceful protest to say  enough is enough, this DPO must go…”

In the same vein, Olori Omotunde Osho who claimed to have reported an

assault case at the police station disclosed she was rather detained and had to pay N30,000 before she was released and eventually charged to court.

The woman who brandished pictures of herself and her two children with

injuries said: “On Friday, some people came to my house to fight my children, they fought inside my sitting room and when we went into the station to  report, the DPO ordered the police officer not to follow me to the scene of the incident.

“The following morning, we went again to the police and on my way coming back, these people came to my house to attack me again and I went to the station for the third time but this man told me it is affray, he had to collect N30,000 before they bailed us. I was not arrested, I was the one who went to the police to report and I was asked to pay, my husband paid the money and they later charged me to court, is it because they have collected the money from other persons?”

One of the youth leaders and a former Councillor in the local government, Hon. Akeem Elegbeji, also narrated how the DPO allegedly demanded N150, 000 before a suspect was released.

He further added that a case which was initially filed as ‘malicious damage’ was changed to armed robbery when the DPO transferred the case to the Command headquarters in Eleweran in Abeokuta.

An hotelier who claimed to be the owner of Abbey Lincoln Hotel in Sagamu, also alleged that raiding his hotel has been a routine exercise for the DPO saying anyone arrested must be ready to part with N10, 000 before he or she is granted bail.

“I have been in this town since birth, on January first, this man came to my hotel and raided 21 people, and he collected N10, 000 each before they were released. Also on February 21, he came again and arrested nine people and also collected N10, 000 each before they were released, this cannot continue when we are not criminals.

“We have worked with many DPOs and there was no problem. He asked us (hoteliers) to pay N50,000 and it was because we failed to pay that he started arresting people,” he said.

Reacting to the protest, however, DSP Muyiwa Adejobia, the state Police Public Relations Officer, said the Commissioner of Police, Abdul Majid Alli, would soon constitute a panel to investigate the allegations levied against the DPO submitting that the command would not condone any illegality from any quarters.