Two students of the Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ikwo, Ebonyi State, have narrated how some policemen attached to the Airport Command, Ikeja, Lagos, allegedly extorted N40,000 from them, while on their way to board a flight back to school.
The students, Michael Ekene Okonkwo and Udo Chukwu Maduforo, were in a cab heading to the local wing last Saturday, when their vehicle was stopped by a team of policemen in front of Golden Tulip Hotel, along Airport Road at about 11am.
They stated that the policemen searched them, but did not find anything incriminating.
They said they pleaded with the policemen to allow them go catch their flight to school and showed them their identification cards, but that their pleas fell on deaf ears.
“They harassed us, delayed us without telling us what our offence was.
“They searched our bags and didn’t find anything incriminating. One of them pushed us in the face and at the end collected N40,000 from us. At the end of the day, we missed our flight.”
One of the students’ mother, Mrs Evelyn Okonkwo, told Vanguard: “When I received a call from my son that they were held by the police, I quickly headed for the spot and at the same time prayed that there shouldn’t be the release of an accidental bullet.
“All I wanted to know was the offence they committed that warranted their being held.
“Before I got to the spot, he called again to tell me that the policemen had released them after extorting N40,000 from them.
“The money was meant for their upkeep in school. By the time they arrived at the airport, their flight had left.
“They missed their Air Peace flight scheduled for 11:40am. They had to return home and travel on Sunday morning at an extra cost.”
Describing the policemen’s action as an act of corruption and wickedness, the Executive Director, Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre, Okechukwu Nwanguma, called on Police authorities to investigate the matter and bring the erring officers to book.
Nwagunma expressed disappointment that despite the current raging issue of police corruption and abuse of power “which has again put Nigeria in the spotlight of international opprobrium, these officers could not be deterred or persuaded to minimise their greed for money acquired through extortion.”
Efforts to reach the Police Public Relations Officer, Airport Command, SP Alabi Joseph, proved abortive as he did not pick calls put across to his mobile phone.