Somolu Council Officials Nabbed For Extortion


The Lagos State Task Force on the Environment and Special Offences (Monitoring) Unit, Lagos, Nigeria, has arrested 14 officials of the Shomolu Local Government Area for extortion.

Those arrested were members of the Life Savers Group, saddled with the responsibility of arresting pedestrians crossing the expressway without using the footbridge at Onipanu.

Giving reasons for the arrest of the officials, Chairman of the task force, Superintendent of Police Bayo Sulaimon, said the agency acted following series of petitions to both the Governor’s Office and his office by members of the public on the activities of the group.

Sulaimon said his agency investigated the allegations levelled against the group and found them to be true.

He described the activities of the group as illegal, saying: ”they arrest people not using the pedestrian bridge and release them after collecting money from them.”

The task force boss accused the Somolu council officials of not charging those arrested to court set up for the purpose, adding that the group does not keep any account for the huge money collected from the offenders.

Each offender, it was learnt, was made to pay between N5,000 and N10,000 before release by the council officials.

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“Their action would have been legal if those arrested were charged to court, but in a situation where they only extort money from the offenders without charging them to court, and there is no account of all the money collected, such job remains illegal.

“We acted after series of petitions have been written to the Governor’s Office and our office too. We investigated their activities and we met it as it was reported,” Sulaimon told P.M.NEWS.

Officials and visitors to Shomolu Local Government’s secretariat were thrown into confusion last Wednesday when the task force officials stormed the secretariat to arrest the culprits.

Those arrested told P.M.NEWS that their money, phones, were taken away by the task force officials.

They were later arraigned at the Task Force Special Magistrate’s Court, Alausa.

They pleaded not guilty to the charge and were ordered to be remanded in prison custody as they could not meet the bail conditions given them by the court.

Commenting on the arrest of members of the group, a member of the Action Congress (AC) in Somolu, Hon. Bolaji Amusan, said the Live Savers Group was established when Engr. Rauf Aregbesola was the Commissioner for Works in the state, to prevent people from crossing the expressway and being killed by motorists on high speed.

—Paul Sanusi& Lucky Lawal.

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