By Daniel Edu
Stanley Chukwuedo, a motorist, expressed his dismay after being allegedly extorted of N35,000 by individuals claiming to be task force officials from the Ifo Local Government Area of Ogun State.
Chukwuedo recounted the incident on Tuesday, stating that it occurred on Friday when he decided to take a diversion around the Kara bridge on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway in order to proceed to the Omole area of Lagos.
He explained that three men suddenly appeared and forcefully entered his car, challenging him for taking the route.
Chukwuedo said, “On Friday, I was commuting to work from Ibafo. When I reached the Kara Bridge on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, there was the usual traffic. After passing the bridge, I decided to take a diversion.”
“Some touts suddenly appeared and claimed that I was not allowed to follow that route. When I asked for the reason, they said I should stick to only one lane instead of two. They threatened to seize my car and insisted that I follow them to their office at Ojodu, stating that if it turned out I had not been warned before, I would be released, but if not, I would be fined.
Upon arriving at their office, another man joined them, making them a group of four. It felt like a confrontational situation, and they demanded that I pay N150,000 for taking the wrong route. One of them checked my car and confirmed that I had not been previously warned. Then, they asked me to pay N50,000, claiming it was because I appeared like a gentleman. Later, they reduced the amount to N35,000. They even threatened to deflate my tires and impose a daily fine of N5,000 until I paid them off.”
In the end, Chukwuedo said the individuals posing as task force officials called a Point of Sale operator, and he was coerced to pay N35,700, with N700 being the PoS charge.
“It was a Palm Pay account. I’m concerned about how a government entity could use Palm Pay as a revenue account. They claimed to be working for Ifo LGA,” he said.
When requested, he added that the men issued him a receipt that had Ifo LGA on it and they indicated that he paid for a “one-way offence.”
But Chukwuedo said he did not drive against traffic.
Chukwuedo’s ordeal is similar to that of Bamidele Famose, a businessman, who was made to pay N67,000 after he was accosted around the Berger area on July 5, 2023, by acclaimed task force officials.
He was also taken to the Ojodu office where he was allegedly extorted.
Contacted on Tuesday, the chairperson, Ifo Local Government Area, Kikelomo Delano, said the men were not working for the LGA.
Delano said, “I have heard about this matter and we have worked on it. We found out that some people are working there that are not from the local government.
“They don’t take them to the local government office. Sometimes, they enter the council and extort them outside and not in the office. I have told some people, if they see them, they should accost them and ask them for the name they are using to do that work so that we will be able to trace them.”
Delano asked for the receipt given to the victim for a follow-up.