Posted by By Tunde Sesan on
ACTIVITIES at the ever-busy Mile 2 Bus Stop were grounded to a halt few days ago after a team of armed policemen embarked on an extortion spree publicly.
ACTIVITIES at the ever-busy Mile 2 Bus Stop were grounded to a halt few days ago after a team of armed policemen embarked on an extortion spree publicly. The frightening incident which took place around 6.30pm resulted into a stampede as commercial bus drivers, other motorists and even commercial motorcyclists ran helter-skelter in order to avoid being extorted.
As against the general impression that the policemen had come to clear the congested traffic on the road and maintain free flow of cars and the heavy duty trucks that ply the expressway, the stern looking policemen came threatening and brandishing their guns against any motorist that refuses to part with some money.
They parked their official Peugeot 504 car in a strategic corner and started harassing almost all the motorists that ply the way.
When traffic started building up, they resorted to stopping only commercial vehicles and forcing their drivers to drop some money or risk being taken to their station.
They also ran swiftly after buses that attempted parking at designated bus stops, after which they will force themselves into the bus and order the driver to come out and follow them.
This strategy almost resulted into series of major accidents when some of the drivers on noticing their ferocious and threatening approach quickly swerved their buses to whichever direction that will take them to safety. A good number of them were even making instant U-turn in the middle of the road thus endangering other vehicles.
Thugs, popularly called ‘Agbero’ were not left out as they capitalized on the chaotic situation created by the policemen to start extorting money from bus conductors. A conductor who refused to give money to an ‘agbero’ was threatened, as one of the fiery looking policemen was summoned to arrest him.
In fact, the situation degenerated to an extent that the thugs were chasing bus drivers who refused to part with their money for the police and whatever loot they were able to get was publicly shared between them. Eventually, what was supposed to be a serious matter became a comedy show as people started laughing and clapping for drivers that succeeded in outsmarting the overzealous policemen and their accomplices.
The story however took a different dimension after one of the ‘danfo’ drivers vehemently refused to part with his money even while the policemen were threatening lime and brimstone. He was made to pay for this as two of the policemen forced him to park his vehicle after which they pounced on him, battering his face with blows.
Two of the policemen wearing faded name tags with inscriptions Cpl. Samuel and Sgt. Onarinde concentrated on hitting the helpless driver with their belts and baton while members of the public cried out passionately for the driver to be spared he was later forced out of his vehicle with blood dripping from his mouth. Private buses were also the victims of the policemen. One of the drivers of a bus owned by a company who declined speaking to City Scope was detained till he showed his Identity Card to the policemen.
However, a major crisis was averted after some of the bus drivers who were earlier apprehended went and invited their soldier friends from a nearby military barracks.
The soldiers who were looking more fierce and battle-ready moved straight to the unsuspecting policemen and confronted them. One of the soldiers was heard barking orders, "you (referring to the policemen) lack respect, if not that you lack respect, how can you see me in the bus and still be saying that you will fire the driver! Fire now and let me see you."
This bold confrontation by the soldiers elicited uproarious response by the crowd who now started jubilating and shouting that a superior power has emerged.
By this time, a mammoth crowd clustered together to watch, while many started saying "yes! Power pass power".
At this stage, the leader of the police team, an Inspector, quickly instructed his men to return the drivers keys to them and apologized to the soldier after another soldier, a Private who was just passing by, waded in the matter to support his boss.
A bus driver that bailed himself out by paying a ‘fine’ of N500, got frustrated enough that he forced all his passengers to disembark while he sadly closed for the day.
Interestingly, few minutes after the soldiers left, the now humbled police officers took a french leave by disappearing with their car.
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