By Akinleye Olusegun
Policemen have been taking advantage of the order of the Commissioner of Police in Ogun State, Abdulmajid Ali, on the closure of pubs by 10:00pm in a bid to arrest the escalating clashes among cult groups in the state which has resulted in loss of lives of property.
Investigation has revealed that around Alakuko-Sango area on the outskirt of Lagos state, the men of the Nigerian Police Force have gone beyond the orders of the CP by also arresting innocent people still moving about at after 10:00pm while also not waiting till 10:00pm to carry out arrests.
A bar owner of Unique Bar at Alakuko, Alhaja, who flouted the order and was recently arrested and released, narrated what transpired from the moment she was arrested till she was taken to the Alakuko Police station.
She began, “They came to my shop some minutes to 10:00pm and I was already packing to close for the day. I was arrested and put inside a bus that they came in. I discovered that some people were already inside the bus. While going, I was surprised that they started picking people on the streets as well. When I asked what there offences were, I was told to shut up and mind my own business.”
She continued, “They picked five more people on the way and we finally got to the police station around past 12am. To my surprise, they requested the sum of ten thousand naira from the people they picked on the road. As for me, I slept over and was later bailed the following morning.”
She didn’t disclose the amount that was collected from her before she was granted bailed but she has since resumed her business and learnt her lesson.
“When it is 8:00pm, I tell my customers to start getting ready to leave. Immediately it is 9:00pm, I close for the day. How much am I making daily to start donating to the police,” she concluded.
The scenario is even worse at Sango area as most bars visited have experienced harassment from policemen mostly from Sango Police station.
The owner of Lady C Bar, at Ilo-Awela road, Sango, Christiana, also narrated her ordeal while calling on the CP to try and check the activities of this errant police officers.
She said, “My own case is very different. I have lost a lot of customers as the policemen have raided my bar two times within a week. I stay very close, two streets away from here (her shop), and ever since we heard about the order of the Commissioner of Police, I make sure I close my shop 10:00pm on the dot. But two Sundays ago, around 9:20pm, some men from Sango Police station just entered into my shop and started arresting my customers to the point of slapping two of them who kept asking what the problem was. Within some minutes, they had packed us all inside a yellow bus driven by another police officer. I didn’t even get the chance to lock up my shop. Some neighbours did that for me.
“After they left my shop, they went to other beer parlors inside Otta and raided people too. By the time they finished, we were up to like thirty in the bus. Some men were even ordered to lap themselves. Inside the bus, the kept telling us that we were in trouble and most of us will rot in jail if we failed to cooperate.”
“When we got to the station, we were ordered around and they separated the beer parlor owners from the customers. We were told to ‘discuss’ about bail conditions if we didn’t want to appear in court. After much negotiation, I paid over thirty five thousand naira to bail out the customers that were arrested at my shop. I didn’t have up to that on me that day, I had twelve thousand on me and I had to make a call to my husband who brought the remaining balance and we left the station around 11:30 pm.”
She went further, “The following Saturday, the same thing happened. Another set of people came from the same police station and my shop was raided again. Within a week, I spent over fifty thousand naira. Since then, I close any time after 8:00pm. I could no longer offer my customers live band performance. The Commissioner of Police should please tell this people to take it easy on us. We are the ones suffering. We are no longer making sales as customers have been staying away.”
Another bar owner at Ijoko road, Flavour Cool spot, Madam Oluchi, also complained about lack of customers as once it is past 8:00pm, policemen start raiding beer parlors within the area.
“My brother, we are tired o. This business has been turned to something else. Even when there are no customers in your shop and these policemen show up, you still give them some money. Most times, there are no lights in the evening and I run generator. But once you run generator and you manage to sell two bottles, isn’t that a loss?
“I am not complaining about the order of the Commissioner, what I am saying is that the policemen have turned it into an avenue to exploit us. They start raiding when it is past 9:00pm. My brother, I tire o,” She concluded.
Most bars visited around 8:00pm have little or no customers as sales has dwindled a lot aftermath of the order by the CP, while the unscrupulous police officers are not making life easy for beer parlor owners.