Landlords and residents of Isheri-Idimu in the Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State have lamented what they described as the arbitrary arrest and assault on people in the community by men of the Idimu Police Division.
Officers of the division were also accused of extorting money from motorcycle riders over the failure of their union leaders to remit certain fees to them.
On Friday, December 2, around 8.25pm, PUNCH Metro observed as the officers, numbering about 15, stormed the Powerline unit of the motorcycle operators and beat up some of the riders.
The policemen, who arrived in two commercial buses, were also seen assaulting traders and passengers who attempted to intervene, as they made away with six motorcycles.
One of the operators, identified only as Abdul-Mumin, was left bleeding after an officer hit him on the head with the butt of a gun.
Our correspondent also observed as traders in the area insulted the cops while the operation lasted.
A motorcyclist, Akintunde Lawal, said the officers were making life difficult for them in the area.
He said, “Our unit is not among the restricted areas listed by the state government and we are permitted to operate till 10pm. But the officers come here during the daytime and evening to seize our motorcycles. We pay N10,000 to retrieve our motorcycles if they are seized in the afternoon and N25,000 if they are seized in the evening.”
One of the executives in the unit, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the raid was frequently carried out by the officers.
He said, “We do remit money to them and if we don’t, they will seize our motorcycles. They were expecting us to bring money, and we were supposed to have taken it there since yesterday.”
According to the residents, the police officers also go about in commercial buses to arrest innocent passersby, thereby causing panic in the area.
PUNCH Metro gathered that arrested victims were usually taken to the station where they would be extorted and asked to pay for bail.
A resident, who identified himself simply as Akin for security reasons, said the harassment had been recurring in the community.
He said, “Whenever they come to carry out their operation, people around the location start to run helter-skelter. They come in commercial buses and pick anyone by the roadside, push them into the bus and take them to their station.”
A trader, who asked to be called Mama Balikis for security reasons, said the officers recently arrested a teenager who was sent on an errand in the area.
She said, “The owner of a bar close to Council Bus-stop sent his son to withdraw money from a Point-of-Sale operator when the police officers alighted from a mini commercial bus and dragged him into the bus. It was when his father became worried about his whereabouts that he was told that his child was taken away by the officers. He later went to bail him.”
A source at the police command headquarters told our correspondent that the Idimu Divisional Police Officer, CSP Gladys Faniyi, had often disregarded calls to call the officers in the division to order.
The source said, “When we get these complaints from some police divisions in the state, we try to call them to order. We have repeatedly called CSP Faniyi to order after a series of complaints but I am surprised this is happening again.”
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin, denied knowledge of the incident.
He said, “I am not aware. Besides, racketeering and unlawful arrest is not part of our mode of operation. If there is any evidence, we will take it up.”