The Lagos Police Commissioner, Idowu Owohunwa, has removed the Meiran Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Tony Abutu, and three other policemen for extorting N200,000 from a mobile phone engineer and dealer, Ibrahim Saliu, in the state.
Abutu, who was removed less than 24 hours after a report on Saliu’s allegations against the three policemen was published, was said to have been accused by the Lagos CP of leadership dereliction and supervisory ineptitude.
The removal was announced on Wednesday by the Command spokesperson, Benjamin Hundeyin, through a short statement released on his official social media handle.
According to him, Meanwhile, all the officers involved have been identified and are currently at the Command headquarters where their orderly room trial has commenced.
Saliu narrated that trouble started when the policemen detained him and his brother, Olaiya Murtala, for not providing an identity card or the receipts for the iPhones found with his brother.
He said he had sent his brother to his shop with six iPhones but during a stop-and-search, the policemen intercepted and took him to the police station.
He added that when he rushed to the police station to secure his brother’s release, he was asked to provide his ID card and receipts for the phones which were not available at the time.
He explained, “I’m an engineer and I sell phones. On Saturday morning, I gave my brother five iPhones and keys to open the shop while I went to withdraw money from the bank and would join him later.
“About two hours later, he called that some policemen on patrol had collected the phones from him and taken him to the station.
“When I got there, the DPO asked me to produce my ID and the receipts for the phones. I told him I didn’t have them. I told him I sell phones, but he didn’t believe me. I then told him that though I didn’t have all the receipts, I could take them to my shop which was close by but they still refused.
“The DPO took the iPhones, removed the warranty stickers on them, and declared that my brother and I are thieves and armed robbers.
“The next thing I heard was the DPO giving them an order to detain us and that we would be locked up for stealing and armed robbery. We were surprised that we started begging.”
Saliu added that the DPO later asked them to pay N500,000 to secure their freedom, saying that they begged him until they settled for N200,000 which the policemen insisted must be paid in cash.
According to him, one of the policemen led him to a nearby POS operator where he withdrew N182, 000 in addition to the N20,000 he had on him and handed it over to the policemen after which they were released.