The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, has ordered an immediate investigation into the professional misconduct, abuse of office and extortion of N22million worth of bitcoin from two young Nigerians, Morakinyo Tobiloba Peter and Yusuf Samson Dayo, by police officers in Lagos State.
SaharaReporters had reported that a Deputy Superintendent of Police with force number 14534, Cordelia Nwawe, one Inspector Austin and others, all attached to the Force Criminal Investigation Department Annex, Alagbon Close, Lagos extorted N22million worth of bitcoin from the two young men at gunpoint.
Reacting in a statement on Monday, Force's spokesman, Frank Mba said a Special Investigation Panel led by DCP Olaolu Adegbite would carry out a discreet and transparent investigation into the allegation has been inaugurated.
Mba added that DSP Cordelia and other police personnel indicted in the report had been ordered to report at the Force Headquarters, Abuja on Tuesday.
The statement read, “The Nigeria Police Force has commenced investigations into the alleged professional misconduct, abuse of office and extortion of Twenty-Two Million Naira worth of Bitcoin from some citizens in Lagos State, levelled against a Deputy Superintendent of Police, Nwawe Cordelia and others, serving at the Force Criminal Investigations Department (FCID), Alagbon, Lagos. This follows the setting up of a Special Investigation Panel by the Inspector General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, to carry out a discreet and transparent investigation into the allegation.
“This development has become imperative following the report making the rounds in the media alleging the involvement of the officers in the extortion of Twenty-Two Million Naira worth of Bitcoin from two young Nigerians, Morakinyo Tobiloba Peter and Yusuf Samson Dayo at gunpoint on July 14, 2021 while driving along the Ikoyi/Ajah Expressway, Lagos State.
“Consequently, DSP Cordelia and the other Police personnel allegedly indicted in the report, have been ordered to report to the Special Investigation Panel, Force Headquarters, Abuja, on Tuesday, 21st December, 2021 to answer to the allegations against them.
“The Special Investigation Panel is headed by DCP Olaolu Adegbite, MFR, of the Force Intelligence Bureau (FIB). The Force advices any member of the public who has had similar experiences of high-handedness or extortion by the officers in question, her team or any other officer at the FCID Alagbon to come forward with detailed information to enable the panel achieve a wholistic investigation.
“Meanwhile, it is vital to state that the alleged actions of the police officers in question do not represent the standards and practices of the Nigeria Police Force and as such any officer found wanting will be visited with the full wrath of the law. Members of the public are enjoined to remain calm as the Force will provide timely updates and make the outcome of the investigation public.”
SaharaReporters had on Sunday reported that the duo, both realtors told SaharaReporters that they were stopped on July 14, 2021 while driving along the Ikoyi/Ajah Expressway by a team of police officers in mufti led by Austin, who adopted a fictitious name “Osas.”
“We were driving on the Ikoyi/Ajah Expressway precisely at 1004 on the 14th of July 2021, when a team of police officers in mufti accosted us and ordered us to park. We parked and the police officers jumped into the car and ordered us to open our phones,” one of the victims had told SaharaReporters.
“Since we had nothing to hide, we gave them our phones and they found nothing incriminating. To our surprise, they ordered us to drive down to their office; we insisted we must know our offences before we can move down to the station. But the police officers descended on us and beat us for disobedience. They claimed we were too fresh not to be a fraudster. We begged them and showed them that we are realtors. We gave them our identity cards and showed them some of our ongoing projects but they insisted we were fraudsters.
“When we got to the police station at FCID Annex, Alagbon Close, Lagos, we were quickly pushed into the cell and they went away with our mobile phones. The police officers returned some hours later and told us we were trading in Bitcoins.
“Before we know it, they started beating us and calling us Yahoo boys, we told them we were not Yahoo boys. We explained that we are realtors and it was because of the decline in naira that we converted our money into bitcoin, but they kept beating us and they said we should write statement around 8:00pm in the night.”
The duo added that the statements written by them were torn into pieces by the policemen while they were forced to sign another one written by the officers alleging that they were internet fraudsters.
“We wrote the statements and they tore it into pieces and wrote another statement for us and forced us to sign it. We did signed the statement and they took them before their boss, DSP Cordelia Nwawe with force number 145341, Admin section, FCID Annex, Alagbon Lagos,” they added.
“Mrs Uwawe asked her officers what happened and they narrated the whole story to her, they told her we are Yahoo boys which we denied and the woman said they should give us bail condition, they demanded N20million from us and when we said we don't have such amount of money, the woman said they should go and kill us if we insist we cannot pay them N20million as bail.
“Officer Austin who led the team also adopted a fictitious name so that people will not know his true name. He was addressed as Osas by DSP Uwawe, he was the one who took us to the cell and threatened to kill the two of us if we did not transfer the N20million in bitcoin to them.
“So when he bought out his gun and was taking us out of the cell to kill us as ordered by her boss, DSP Uwanue, we now succumbed to him and said he should remove the money from our account, he insisted he wanted bitcoin and not naira, he provided another bitcoin account and he transferred N22million equivalent of bitcoin from our account.”