Ibadan Motorists Decry Extortion by Police, Seek Gov, IGP, s Intervention

Commercial drivers in Ibadan are deeply concerned about the increasing extortion they face from the police.

They claim that this exploitation is significantly impacting their earnings.

They are calling upon Governor Seyi Makinde, Commissioner of Police CP Adebowale Williams, and the Acting Inspector-General of Police (IGP) to intervene and assist them.

The drivers express their frustration, stating that whether or not their documents are in order, they are obligated to pay the police whenever they are stopped.

While expressing their support for President Bola Tinubu’s government and their willingness to cooperate, the commercial drivers are bitterly lamenting the extortion they experience from certain police officers in various areas of Ibadan, such as Mokola, Iwo Road, Ojoo, Moniya, and Challenge. This exploitation occurs as they go about their legitimate transportation business.

Some drivers, fearing repercussions, spoke anonymously about the mistreatment they endure in the hands of the police in the state capital.

Additionally, it has been reported that numerous preventable accidents have occurred in different parts of the city due to these police actions, resulting in unnecessary casualties during rush hours when workers and students are commuting.

Motorists have repeatedly stated their disapproval and warned against other similar misconduct, including phone searches, demanding passwords, and infringing upon their rights to privacy and personal liberty.

To instil discipline and maintain professionalism, the Abuja Police Command announced in 2021 that it had apprehended four personnel involved in extortion and subjected them to disciplinary action.

During recent press briefings and crime suspect parades at the state’s Police Command, residents have been repeatedly advised to be cautious of impostors posing as police officers, engaging in extortion and tarnishing the reputation of the security agency.

The Oyo State Police Command emphasizes that genuine police officers would not ask citizens for passwords to their mobile phones and electronic devices without a proper court warrant. They encourage residents to use the police toll-free number 615 and other emergency numbers.

One of the motorists, who travels from Mokola Roundabout to Bus Stop, Gate, and Iwo Road, stated that whether a driver is right or wrong, they must pay a certain amount of money to avoid spending an entire day dealing with the police.

Another driver, an elderly man who drives along Onikoko Estate, Customs, Ikolaba High School, Idi-Ape, and Testing Ground, mentioned that police officers in these areas treat toll collection from motorists as a daily due. Non-compliance with their demands leads to negative consequences.

Speaking in Yoruba, the elderly driver said, “Don’t worry about whether you’re right or wrong, just comply and give them their money.”

“This is a normal routine because arguing or explaining won’t achieve anything, and you might end up paying more than initially demanded when taken to the police station.”

“Sometimes they even assign numbers to us to track who has paid their dues or not. It’s distressing because many of us obtained these commercial vehicles through hire purchase.”

“We have to remit money to the owners, purchase petrol at the current rate of about 500 naira per liter, and sometimes spend money on repairs at the mechanic’s workshop before the end of the day.”

“We also need to earn money to support our families. It feels like working as slaves, and only our leaders can assist us because this is our sole means of livelihood.”