Journalist accuses Lagos task force of extortion

by OLUMAYOWA AJIBOYE

A sports journalist, Babajide Guerrero, has accused men of the Lagos State Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit, aka Task Force, of extortion.

Guerrero, who spoke to our correspondent on Wednesday, demanded a refund of the N100,000 allegedly collected from him by the officials.

“These things often done by these officers need to stop. I want people to know what they are doing is wrong and I want a refund of my money,” he added.

The journalist had taken to his Twitter page @BabajideGuerero, on Tuesday, to narrate his encounter with the officials.

He stated that the incident occurred while he was on his way to record the final episode of the world cup for a television station.

Guerrero wrote, “On December 19, I was on my way to shoot the last episode of @PulseSportsNG world cup show that I was commissioned to do. I was on my lane, approaching Edmund Street, turning into uni road at Jibowu when a Suzuki cab overtook me.

“A few minutes later, men from the Lagos task force came out of two yellow commercial buses and arrested that Suzuki cab and some other cars; they claimed it was Double Lane. I was on my right lane when one of the officers said ‘oga reverse, let us arrest these guys.’ while I was reversing, this guy recorded me reversing, and told his colleagues to arrest me, saying ‘he’s among’, it was like a movie as they were already in my car before I could do a thing.”

The journalist noted that efforts to explain the situation to the men fell on deaf ears.

He added, “They drove me to Alausa and stressed my life, I won’t come here tweeting if I was wrong, I wasn’t wrong. Adeyemi, leader of Team C, Lagos task force, told me to reverse for them to arrest the culprit but he recorded me reversing and arrested me too.”

Guerrero later told our correspondent that while he waited at Alausa, one of the officers approached him and demanded N50,000 while another N50,000 was demanded when he was taken to the agency’s head office at Bolade Oshodi.

He said, “At Alausa, one of the officers that arrested me approached me and demanded N50,000. I had to make the withdrawal and paid the money in cash with the hope that he would go into their office and help me get my car, but he disappeared with the money.

“After that, another guy who wasn’t a police officer but worked with them said he had spoken to officer Adeyemi and he (Adeyemi) said I should pay N150,000. I asked him if they saw anything implicating in my car for me to pay such an amount. He said he would speak to the officer again; he later reduced the amount to N50,000.

“I was then taken to their office at Bolade Oshodi. There is a shop in there that they use and I had to make another withdrawal of N50,000 which I paid the guy. He went with the money and later returned with a stapled paper. It was the stapled paper I took back to Alausa for them to release my car.

“At Oshodi, I saw officer Adeyemi and confronted him since he was the one who told me to reverse but he was only laughing and did not say anything. That’s one of the coldest things that has happened to me in my entire adult life. When I was done, I had to pay N1,000 gate pass fee.”

The task force spokesperson, Abdulraheem Gbadeyan, advised the journalist to make a formal complaint to the agency’s chairman.

He said, “The standard protocol was for him to ask the officers to charge him to court. If he has any evidence, let him write to the agency’s chairman, and I’ll surely pursue the case.”

The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin, responded to the victim in a tweet on Tuesday.

He wrote, “I’ll contact the Task Force to see how this can be redressed. Thank you for bringing this to our notice. It will surely help us do better.”

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