Lagos — THERE was a mild drama weekend in Apapa area of Lagos, following a physical combat between some policemen and members Ports Standing Task Team, over the release of a suspect.
Information gathered revealed that some suspects were arrested by the Ports Standing Task Team, for allegedly extorting monies from truck drivers at the port corridor. The suspects were reportedly taken into custody at the area ‘B’ command, Apapa.
Upon a physical interrogation with the suspects, the Commander, Area ‘B’ ACP Umar Dikwa was said to have ordered the release of one of the suspects, promising to produce him when needed.
But the demand was turned down by the Task Team, who insisted on moving the suspects from Area ‘B’ to the detention facility of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, for further investigation. But the Area Commander was alleged to have resisted the move.
Sources close to the Nigerian Shippers’ Council where the Presidential Task Team, PTT, is domiciled, disclosed that about nine members of the task team were detained, striped, with their phones and cameras seized and the contents in the memory card deleted by the Police.
In the heated argument over the movement of the suspects to the ICPC cell in Ikoyi, Lagos, Coordinator of the Team, Moses Fadipe, who was said to be among those harassed, alerted the Presidency, consequent upon which the attention of the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba was contacted.
It took the directive of IGP Baba to the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, CP Abiodun Alabi, before the six suspects were moved to the ICPC detention facility in Ikoyi.
Effort to reach ACP Dikwa was futile as calls to his mobile phone were neither answered nor returned.
When contacted, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hundeyin disclosed that the Commander did not know members of the Presidential Task Team hence their maltreatment.
We already have the names of these ‘Camp boys’ who work for the Police, officials of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Lagos State Traffic Management Agency, LASTMA, and other government officials.
Sources close to the team said: “This is not the first time we are raiding this corridor, some of the suspects raided are currently at the ICPC facility and so far, they are making confession on the people they work for and who they report to.
“But these six suspects are regarded as untouchable, we have carried out about three or four raids before we raided them. We took our time to arrest these boys because we have an idea of who they work for hence the time and care we took to make the raid.
“If we succeed with these boys, then 50 percent of extortion along the port corridor would have been eliminated. Five suspects were arrested while the sixth one, who is the point man of the Area Commander fled. We were able to trace him that same night.”
In a related development, two other suspects who confessed to be errand boys who allegedly extort money from truck drivers on behalf of officials of the Nigerian Ports Authority and Lagos State Traffic Management Agency, LASTMA were also arrested weekend.
The Coordinator of the Presidential Task Team, Fadipe, revealed that the suspects were arrested at about 1:30 am on Friday, adding that they were profiled for over six months before they were arrested.
He said, “We have been on intelligence gathering for the past six months on the port corridor, it was just about three weeks ago that we started carrying out intermittent raids along the corridor.”
Follow us on twitter