Crime

Nigeria Police Extort N250,000 From Traditional Worshippers In Lagos For Being Found With ‘Ifa Calabash’

  1. The Lagos Coordinator for Take-It-Back Movement, who disclosed this to SaharaReporters on Sunday, said that though the police have released them, the officers have refused to return the N250,000 extorted from them.

Personnel of the Lagos State Commissioner of Police Tactical Unit, Ijegun, have allegedly extorted N250,000 from some traditionalists for having ‘Ifa’ calabash in their vehicle.

The Lagos Coordinator for Take-It-Back Movement, who disclosed this to SaharaReporters on Sunday, said that though the police have released them, the officers have refused to return the N250,000 extorted from them.

One Supol Mike who arrested the traditionalists in a recorded telephone conversation which was made available to SaharaReporters, is heard telling the caller: “If I have charged them to court, will you be calling and demanding for refund of money?”

When asked by the caller what their offence was, the police officer responded that “they were suspected to be cultists and ritualists”.

“If I have charged them to court, will you be calling me? You called me and I released them to you, why are you calling me again about money extorted from them?”

The officer also said that the only things found on them were ‘Ifa calabash, palm kernel and Aje shell’.

However, the TIB, a pro-democracy organisation has demanded an immediate refund of the extorted money, adding that “their offence was seeing them with ‘Ifa’ calabash which we don’t think is a criminal offence as everyone is entitled and have the right to worship whatever he or she believes in”.

The TIB coordinator regretted that the traditional religion practitioners were detained for about five hours without stating any form of offence they committed except that they were found with ‘Ifa’ calabash.

He said, “I spoke with one of the officers who also confirmed the reason for the arrest and I asked if it is a criminal offence in Nigeria for someone to be fetish?

“They were detained without any substantial evidence to tag them a criminal. I spoke with the OC (officer-in-charge) who heads the tactical unit and he also confirmed nothing incriminating was found on them except the ‘Ifa’ calabash and said they will be released on bail when they get the real fact that their ‘Ifa’ calabash is not harmful.

“The policemen later released them after they were forced to withdraw the sum of N258,400 from a Point of Sale (POS) agent just outside the station.”

“Contents of the Ifa ceramic were palm kernel and ‘Aje’ shell. Practising Ifa is not a criminal offence; why did they extort the sum of N258,400 from them?” TIB asked.

Meanwhile, efforts made by SaharaReporters to speak with the Command’s spokesman, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, over the incident were not successful as he rejected the phone calls.

He simply said in a text message: “Sorry I can’t take this call right now. For complaints about police action, call 08090277714, 08090277712, 08090277711, 08090277713, 09111111151, 09111991116, 09111111150. Or send a text.”

 

 

 

 

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