Incidence of police brutality and extortion is taking a new dimension with the coming of quick money operators also known as POS operators.
They have deployed a means to use individuals as baits, who will, in turn, be freed after they have swindled people or force them to transfer money out of duress.
The story of Fakoyin, a middle aged man who was attending to customers in his office in the Ipodo area of Ikeja is a sad tale that needs urgent intervention especially after the ENDSARS protests last year. Fakoyin was at his shop when one Ahmed, a barman from the KO Gardens, informed him that two yet-to-be-identified men needed to withdraw N40,000 through his point of sale terminal.
They obtained Fakoyin’s account number, and after providing it, the 40-year-old received a credit alert of N40,000. Afterwards, he gave them N40,000 and the men left his office. Fakoyin later received a call from a woman, identified simply as Mrs Adigun, who informed him that she was instructed to send N40,000 into his account in order to retrieve her daughter’s missing phone.
He asked the woman to come over so that they could report to the police but never showed up. After some weeks, Fakoyin was arrested as a result of the transaction and taken to the Maroko Police Station.
In an interview with the Punch, the POS operator narrated his ordeal, “I was handed over to Inspector Monday, who detained me for three days. On the fourth day, my younger brother, Tareed, visited the station and Inspector Monday demanded the N40,000 paid into my account and another N40,000 for my bail.
“I gave my brother my ATM card and he withdrew N80,000 and gave it to Inspector Monday. Afterwards, he released me, but seized my PoS terminal on the condition that I must provide the suspect, whom I paid N40,000 to in my office.”
Fakoyin explained that efforts to get the suspect paid off when he visited the KO Gardens again, adding that after apprehending the suspect, Inspector Monday instructed him to hand over the suspect to the Ikeja Police Division.
The Ekiti State indigene, however, said the suspect disappeared after he was handed over to the Ikeja Police Division, adding that Inspector Monday detained him again for the suspect’s disappearance from police custody.
He stated, “Inspector Monday informed the DPO of Ikeja Division and I took the suspect to him on Saturday. When we got there, the DPO called a policewoman, who took the suspect away. I waited for three hours to hear from Inspector Monday so that the suspect could be taken to the Maroko Division, but he ignored my calls.
“I was also told to stay outside the station and after waiting for six hours, I left the station around 7.30pm. Around 8.30pm, Inspector Monday called and told me to look for a vehicle to convey the suspect down to the Maroko Division and I told him that I was not a police officer and could not convey the suspect.
He said I should not have left the suspect or the station until I heard from him. Because of this case, I slept in a cell for the first time in my life. The police seized my terminal for two weeks, crippled my business and made me to lose over N400,000. They also extorted N80,000 from me and I treated myself with N30,000 after I was released.”
Standard Gazette earlier this year reported on how Policemen on patrol stop commercial buses or young individuals, force them to alight and drive them to POS points to withdraw money so that they may not be traced since it is the individual who is withdrawing. Sometimes, it is a form of abduction as reported in one of our stories, where the families of arrested individuals are contacted by the victim under duress to make claims of abduction or threat to life. It is the new norm.