A Lagos medical practitioner, who identified himself only as Dr Itan, has accused policemen from the Area M command of stealing N45,000 from him.
The victim, who works with a private hospital in the Iyana Ipaja area of the state, said he was returning from an emergency around 1am, accompanied by his wife, when he was stopped by a police team.
He said his explanations on where he was coming from was rebuffed by the men, who demanded N100,000 from him failing which he would be charged with robbery.
Itan said after being detained for about three hours, the policemen led his wife to the nearest Automated Teller Machine, where she was forced to withdraw N45,000 for them.
The doctor said four other motorists, who were also stopped, were forced to part with various sums of money.
He said, “I live in Ikeja, while the hospital where I work is at Iyana Ipaja. I was at home on April 9 when a nurse called me that we had a patient that had problem passing urine. The man was in pain and I recommended some drugs.
“But the nurse called back that the situation was getting critical and I decided to drive down. I got to the hospital with my wife; and by some minutes past 1am, we were done.
“I was driving back when I sighted a road block by a police team at Moshalashi Roundabout, Iyana Ipaja. I saw different Rapid Response Squad vehicles at the junction. They asked me to park and I did.
“They asked why I was wandering at that time of the night and I told them that I was a medical doctor and I had an emergency which I had to respond to. I showed them my identity card and complimentary cards. The policemen checked my vehicle documents and driving licence, which were complete.
“But one of the policemen said anybody could be a doctor during the day and a robber at night. I told them that if they had issues with where I was coming from, they could follow me back to the hospital. But they refused.”
Itan said four other vehicles were stopped on the road, adding that the policemen said they got a tip-off on a robbery operation in the area and they were all suspects.
He noted that before they were driven to the Area Command, the policemen asked him to pay N100,000.
“They said as a doctor I didn’t need to get myself embarrassed and that I could just settle them and leave. Since I didn’t have any money, I did not pay anything.
“They took us to the Area M Police Command on Idimu Road. But instead of driving into the station, they asked us all to park our vehicles at a car wash beside the command.
“I asked them to take me to the Area Commander, adding that I was ready to be investigated. But they only demanded my car key and kept silent,” he added.
The victim said some of the other motorists started paying some money to the policemen and were released.
He said later, a Deputy Superintendent of Police approached him and after he identified himself as a medical doctor, the DSP asked the policemen to search his vehicle.
Nothing incriminating was said to have been found in the car.
“He then held my pouch, which contained my driving licence, passport, hospital ID card and the ID card of another hospital where I was formerly working.
“He asked what I was doing with two ID cards of different hospitals, and I explained to him. I also told him it was not a crime if I had ID cards of two hospitals if I was working in one and consulting for the other. He became angry.
“When it was getting to about 4am and I didn’t bulge, one of them came to me and said I was not supposed to follow them to the area command in the first place and that since they had brought me there, they might have to charge me with robbery. I told him there was nothing I could do because I didn’t have any money on me.
“At that point, they volunteered to follow my wife to the Automated Teller Machine to withdraw some money. I told them I didn’t have N100,000. But the policeman said I cannot give them small money because all of them, including the DSP, will share it.
“Later, they decided to collect N45,000. They drove my wife to the ATM where she made the withdrawal before we were eventually released,” Itan added.
Itan said the policemen advised him to always move in an ambulance whenever there was an emergency or in the alternative he should tell his hospital to write the area command.
While expressing sadness over the incident, he said he reported his ordeal to the management of his hospital, but was advised to let go.
“The hospital said it was what they did every time and I was surprised because I was new in the place. They said since they were in that environment and they always had to respond to emergencies from time to time, they didn’t want to be victimised.
“But I want those policemen punished for the act. The police authorities should go after them; they are always at that junction, robbing innocent motorists,” he added.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Olarinde Famous-Cole, urged the doctor to approach the command for redress, saying the state Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, would not condone such act.
He said, “Please, ask him if he copied the tag number or name of any of those policemen and if he can identify them. The CP has ordered that once we get any report like that, we should get the culprits apprehended to face the wrath of the law. We will not condone such. Tell him to come to the command on Tuesday (today).”
In his reaction, the doctor said he could recognise the policemen, adding that he wrote down the name and number of one of them.
Photo: Fatai Owoseni, Lagos CP