According to a report by New Telegraph, a 25-year-old man, Augustine Iloesie, has alleged that operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), attached to Anambra State Police Command, Ekwulobia, have demanded N50,000 from him before they dent at Oko Police Station and also to the vigilance group at Oko village.
“Some days later, one of the members of the vigilance group called me and said that some suspects had been arrested after they went for another robbery operation at another location. The suspects were handed over to SARS operatives at Ekwulobia Division in Aguata Local Government Area, Anambra State.
“I went to the SARS office at Ekwulobia and the police officer in charge called out the suspects. They admitted that they stole my items and also gave accurate descriptions of the stolen items which corresponded with the descriptions I also gave to the police when I reported the incident.”
According to Iloesie, he returned some days later and the officer warned him to stop disturbing them since he couldn’t provide the money they demanded.
He added: “One of the policemen then said that from their investigations, the suspects had already sold the items to a buyer and that the buyer was on the run. He said that the earlier I provided the money, the quicker they would devise means of arresting the buyer and recovering the items. After some days, the head of the vigilantes called me that they had recovered one of the stolen Plasma would release his recovered items. Iloesie said that the SARS operatives told him that the N50,000 was for investigation and recovery of his stolen items.
Iloesie added that he told the policemen that he didn’t have such an amount of money. He further alleged and the officer got angry and ordered him to leave the station immediately.
“They have warned me not to come to their office again, unless I have the N50,000 with me. They said if I come without the money, they would lock me up,” he said. Iloesie noted that after his graduation from the university in 2016, he started Viewing Centre business where people used to come to watch live football matches.
He said: “When I went for my National Youth Service (NYSC) in 2017, I closed my business temporarily because I have no one to take charge of it. Sometime in February in 2018, bandits broke into my place where I parked my items in a nearby shop opposite the Viewing Centre for safekeeping.
The thieves stole my two Plasma televisions and generator. I immediately reported the incitelevisions and taken it to the SARS operatives. While I was still contemplating how to go about this matter, since I didn’t have N50,000 to give to the SARS men, the parents of the person who purchased the stolen items and who had been on the run visited me. They told me that they wanted to settle the issue once and for all.
They asked me to give them a list and price of all the stolen items so that they could either give me the cash equivalent or purchase new ones to replace the stolen ones. I gave them the list and prices.
The items are Plasma TV and a generator, but one of the TVs had already been recovered by the vigilantes.”
Reacting to the issue, the National Coordinator of Network on Police Reforms in Nigeria (NOPRIN), Mr. Okechukwu Nwanguma, appealed to the Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Garba Umar, to intervene and prevail on the SARS operatives to release Iloesie’s recovered items, so that he could go back to his business.
The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Haruna Muhammed, said the command headquarters was not aware of the case. Muhammed requested that the victim should visit him, so that they could resolve the issue.