A television/film producer has narrated how policemen followed him to an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) to collect a N10,000 bribe. Benjamin Ogunbodede, an unmarried man, was illegally arrested and detained by police officers attached to Ajuwon Police Station in Ogun on an adultery charge and was eventually extorted of his money after being detained overnight. Ogunbodede said he was detained between July 15 and 16 after he was arrested at about 10:30 pm while returning from work in the company of a lady he had given a lift in his car. Ogunbodede said he drove into a checkpoint at the junction of his street where he was stopped by policemen, who did not wear the conventional police uniform. Instead, they wore mobile police T-shirts.
When they stopped him, he said, the policemen demanded to see his driver’s licence, which he gave to them. They then demanded that he should open his car trunk, which he did. What followed was a question on his relationship with the lady in the car and Ogunbodede explained that he did not know her and that she only gave her a lift to somewhere close to her destination.
“I told them I was just giving her a lift since I was going in the same direction,” he said. But one of the policemen said he should be taken into custody for human trafficking/kidnapping.
Even in his shock at the bizarre allegation, Ogunbodede said he found the composure to explain that he only offered to help the woman. The policemen were not impressed and ordered him to get into his car and drive to the Ajuwon Police Station, while the woman was asked to get into the patrol van. Ogunbodede’s plea that he should be allowed to place a call to his members of his family was rejected.
The police officers only seized his personal belongings including his mobile phone. At the station, an officer named Yusuf checked his laptop and phones in the hope of finding something incriminating, but found nothing. He and his colleagues then asked for his vehicle documents again, going through them with greater scrutiny until they found Ogunbodede had a different plate number.
“They accused me of stealing the car because I have a different registration number. I explained that the former owner wanted to have his number plate back since it was registered in his name, so I had to make a change of ownership, got a police report and a new number plate. That also did not impress them,” he said.
Next up was the accusation that the woman in his car claimed she was a commercial sex worker, whom she was taking home after agreeing to pay her N8,000. Ogunbodede said he challenged them to bring the woman to come and repeat the allegation in his presence. They ignored him and invented a new charge, which was adultery.
He told them he is unmarried and could not have committed adultery. Apparently not interested in his logic, the policemen warned him cut out the stories and pay up or risk staying at the station for longer than imagined. “Guy, leave story and settle us or you will be here longer than you can ever imagine,” Ogunbodede quoted them as saying.
He asked what the settlement they desired was and was told N50, 000.
“I said there was no way I’d cough out such an amount when I didn’t do anything,” he said.
His boldness further infuriated the policemen, who rained vile abuses on him and hauled him into a cell. A few hours later, they brought him out of the cell and asked if he was ready to pay. He maintained that he could not pay. The policemen then asked him to write a statement and dictated what he should write to him.
He was also told to write down his account balance down after seeing statements of my account on my phone. Also demanded what how much he earns monthly and what type of apartment he lives in. He was put back in the cell. At about 5.30 A.M, they returned to him and asked if he was enjoying his new residence.
A desperate Ogunbodede had to start begging them, explaining that he had an employment test scheduled for 8 A.M. He subsequently agreed to pay N10, 000. The excited policemen ordered a colleague to take a bike at the station and ferry Ogunbodede to an ATM at Sterling Bank at No 22, Ogunlowo street, Ajuwon/Akute- Alagbole to withdraw the money and then return to the station.
“That done, I filled their bail form, and all my properties were released to me,” he narrated. The officers on duty made sure I didn’t get the Divisional Police Officer’s contact details posted on the walls of the station,”
Ogunbodede said he remains deeply pained by the treatment meted to him by the policemen and has vowed to ensure that he gets justice.