When the Ogun State Government announced the imposition of a curfew on Sango-Ota on April 9, 2008, many concerned Nigerians feared that policemen, in their usual manner, could hide behind the enforcement of the curfew to extort money from hapless residents. A few days after the curfew was announced, it has turned out that the fears are genuine.
The residents of Sango and Ota communities as well as users of the section of the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway between Sango and Alakuko have been subjected to untold hardship through a well planned criminal conspiracy perfected by the policemen in the affected area.
There appears to be a grand design by the policemen at Alakuko to create a traffic jam that holds down motorists who are hurrying home to beat the curfew. As such, Sango and Ota residents who get to Alakuko as early as 4pm are delayed in the artificial traffic jam for upwards of two hours. By the time they get to Sango or Ota, they find themselves at the mercy of marauding policemen who accuse them of disobeying the curfew order, threatening to arrest them except they agree to part with sums of money ranging between N200, and N500.
I was a victim of the conspiracy on Monday, April 14, 2008, when the bus I boarded from Lagos was caught in the artificial traffic jam and we had to spend more than two hours in it. Like other motorists, the driver of the bus was made to pay N200 by some policemen at a checkpoint around Ajegunle.
On getting to the old toll gate, we met another checkpoint mounted by another set of policemen who also demanded for N200. After a lot of pleading, they accepted N100 from the driver. On seeing the possibility of running into another checkpoint before we got to Sango, the driver decided that he would turn back and find an alternative route.
Unfortunately, he had to pass through the checkpoint where he had earlier paid N200. He explained to the policemen that he had just paid N200 to them before making a U-turn, but they insisted he must pay another N200. The ensuing argument resulted in the long delay of our bus. The driver had no choice but pay another N200 at the end of the day.
The police authorities and Ogun State Government should please do something about this ugly development.
Ota, Ogun State.