According to Punch, two employees of an oil firm in Lagos have been forced to pay heavily for refusing to give N5,000 bribe to some operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Lagos State Command.
The operatives, in a desperate move to collect the bribe, reportedly shot at the victims – a tanker driver, Lawal Amobi, and the company manager, Tolu Oyinloye – while they were trying to escape after being beaten up.
The officials, apart from inflicting injuries on the driver’s face and back, reportedly robbed him of two phones and a sum of N32,000, while the manager was dispossessed of N48,000.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the men had flagged down a diesel-laden tanker driven by Amobi around 6pm on Friday along Wilmer Road, Ajegunle, and asked him to produce his waybill and an operating licence issued by the Department of Petroleum Resources.
Amobi said he tendered the waybill and pleaded with them that the DPR licence was not with him. He told our correspondent that when the officials insisted on seeing the licence, he called the manager, who brought a photocopy of the licence.
He said, “But the NSCDC officials were not satisfied with it. The manager explained to them that it was what the company gave us. Their team leader refused to release the waybill and requested N5,000 from us.
“We told them that our documents were complete. The manager begged them with N500. They collected the money and entered into their van with the waybill and the DPR licence. We told them there was still diesel in the truck and we had to tender the waybill if any other security agent stopped us. They just zoomed off.
“As we were following them on a motorcycle, I called the chairman of a depot in Coconut, where I loaded the product. I explained what happened to the chairman and he said we should follow them to their office.
“As we followed their van, we begged them. They suddenly parked on the Mile 2 Bridge and came down from the vehicle. When he saw the anger on their faces, the motorcycle rider sped off. They attacked me with blows, boots and the butts of their rifles. They vowed to kill us. One of them collected a Techno phone I was using to make calls, while another dipped his hand into my pocket, took my second phone, iPhone 4, and the N32,000 on me.”
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Amobi said they followed them to Lacasera bus stop on Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, where they met another driver being dealt with by another team of the corps.
He said the operatives unleashed another round of terror on him and the manager, adding that they had to run for dear lives when the beating became unbearable.
“We managed to escape from them. They started shooting at us. We didn’t get their names because there were no name tags on them. But we were able to get the number plate of their vehicle – CD 167 A01.
“That evening, we reported the matter at the Trinity Police Station. The policemen promised to write to the NSCDC commandant in the state and told us to come back on Monday. When we went back on Monday, they told us to report at the station whenever we see any of those officials,” he added.
The manager, Oyinloye, said the officials snatched his bag containing N48,000, adding that he could identify them.
He said, “They collected my Infinix phone. I withdrew N270,000 on Friday for expenses. I kept the remaining N48,000 in my bag. They collected the bag and my wristwatch. I also lost my identity card during the attack.”
The duo’s employer, Mrs. Wunmi Ilesanmi, said the matter was reported at the NUPENG zonal office and some senior officers of the corps were invited to a meeting with the two victims.
She said, “Imagine if the bullets had hit them and they died; we would just be looking for them, without knowing what actually happened. At the end of the day, they would be tagged as robbers. It has become almost impossible to do business in this country. Everybody is asking you for what they are not supposed to ask on a daily basis. We are tired.
“The NUPENG zonal management had a meeting with three NSCDC officers on Monday and they promised to investigate the matter.”
The spokesperson for the NSCDC command in the state, Kehinde Bada, urged the victims to report the case at the command for proper investigation.
She said, “If the people have valid evidence and they are sure those men are NSCDC officers, they should report at the command. It will be taken up and proper investigation will be carried out.”