An Oyo State resident, Emiola Solomon, has narrated how policemen attached to Iyaganku State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) of the Nigeria Police Force extorted the sum of N130,000 from him and his guardian.
Solomon told SaharaReporters that the extortion happened on Friday. He said they were detained on Thursday when they reported at the station to honour an invitation by the police after two lawyers simply identified as Barr. Ajibike M.A and Barr. T.O. Onipede accused him of threatening their lives.
He said the case started with a land issue relating to the area where he was staying with his guardian, Sodamade Odus.
He added the land in question is where their church is located and that they bought the land over 30 years ago and subsequently did all the land agreements.
"They sold the land to us twice and later, another family came and claimed that they are the owners of the land. They even brought thugs and resold the land again to us, making it three times," he said.
Solomon said in 2021, a caveat emptor was pasted at the church and when he contacted the phone number on the notice, it was a lawyer, identified as Ajibike who answered and asked him to come to his office.
According to him, when he (Solomon) went to the lawyer's office, he met his neighbour, Sunday Oriade, who had also seen a similar notice pasted at his place.
"At the lawyer's office, he wanted to push us to compromise and to force us into buying the land the fourth time. I told him he can't force us to buy the land again. I told him that threatening us to vacate the land within seven days was not acceptable.
"He became angry and questioned the authority I have to speak to him. Sunday Oriade eventually calmed him down and I told him that I am representing my guardian, Sodamade Odus. He said he would call us for negotiation but I told him we are not ready for any negotiation.
"After about three months, I saw a court letter he pasted and I questioned the person who pasted the court paper but he asked if I was questioning the order of the court. However, when I went through the court paper which was 14 pages, I discovered that some names of the plaintiffs are also the names on the land agreement papers.
"I saw that the paper was from the State High Court at Imoniya and I noticed that they wrote 'advanced' in ink, which is not normal.
"I went to the High Court and found out that they merely prepared the paper and had not minuted it at the court let alone give the order to serve us the paper. I quickly went to Barr. Ajibike’s office and I saw the young man who came to paste the court papers there. I challenged him for lying that he is a court clerk and the lawyer said I was threatening his secretary.
"I challenged him on why his secretary should pretend to us that he is a court bailiff, meaning he impersonated the court.
"After about a month, a court bailiff brought the same court papers and I insisted that we cannot go into a negotiation. The lawyer said I was threatening him, meanwhile, he was the one that threatened us and wanted to force us into compromise with the people, some of whom we don't know.
"After about a month, a court bailiff brought the same court papers and I insisted that we cannot go into a negotiation. The lawyer said I was threatening him, meanwhile, he was the one that threatened us and wanted to force us into compromise with the people, some of whom we don't know."
Solomon further explained that while the matter was in court; on January 9, 2023, they received another letter from another lawyer, Onipede, on the same matter, asking them to either meet with him within seven days or leave the land.
"The following day was #EndSARS trial on January 10th and I, Comrade Ekanem and Comrade Abiodun went to the lawyer's office and I asked him if his clients informed him that the matter was already before the High Court and he said he was not aware of it. I told him to meet his clients and get the details of the matter.
"Then, two days ago (on Thursday) when I was about to enter the examination hall, I received a call from the church that they came with armed police officers, threatened to shoot him and took him away. They also dropped a letter for me claiming, a threat to life and said I should report at the police station.
"Getting to the police station with Comrade Ekanem, they took my phones at the entrance. When I got inside, the police officers started intimidating me. I asked for the petition but rather than show me the petition, the IPOs, Inspector Olusola B. Oluseye and Inspector Femi Kola, said I should just write a statement on the threat to life, that I was claiming to know too much.
"They kept me till evening and the IPO brought out a question form but I rejected it and demanded a statement form. He then brought out the petition and I saw that he (the lawyer) alleged that I and my neighbour came to his office with thugs to threaten him.
"I demanded evidence and when I was writing the statement, the IPO tried to force me to write a different thing. He wanted me to write a statement about the land matter but I refused and insisted that what brought me to the station was an allegation of threat to life. He brought out his gun and threatened to deal with me."
He said he started writing the statement by 4 pm but finished by 9 pm because they kept calling him to meet different persons at the station.
"I went to the station with my beret and while I was in the office there, one of them threatened that if I didn't remove the beret, he would blow off my head. He asked me the meaning of the beret I was putting on and I told him that I belong to a social movement and that I'm not a cultist. He asked me what organisation I belong to and I told him #RevolutionNow and he said ‘Sowore abi?’
"The two lawyers - Ajibike and Onipede - said that I came to their offices to harass and threaten them.
"The police detained us on that Thursday and when they released us, I was told that the total money they collected was more than N130,000. I was told that they collected N5,000 at the counter.
"They also said I should report at the police station on Monday," he said.