The Inspector General of Police has ordered an investigation into an allegation of extortion against the public relations officer of the Kwara State Police Command, Ajayi Okesanmi, according to Premium Times.
“The IG has ordered for an investigation and I might not want to disclose anything about it because of the investigation. We received a letter this morning. The investigation will reveal whether money was collected from the guy or not,” Mr Okesanmi he said.
The allegation against Mr Okesanmi came to light following the viral online campaign for the scrapping of the police’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, due to reports of the unit’s brutality, rights abuses and extra-judicial killings.
As Nigerians recounted their mostly bitter ordeals in the hands of the SARS on social media, one Michael Asiwaju with the Twitter handle @Asiwaju_Limited posted a tweet about how Mr. Okesanmi allegedly extorted $2,000 cash from him, forced him to transfer N155,000 to one of his subordinates and seized his Samsung smartphone.
“On Friday July 7th, the PPRO of the Kwara State police command took 2000$ cash from me and forced me to transfer 115k to one of his boys account, and he also seize (sic) my Samsung phone… He threatened to send me to jail if I tell anyone about the case,” he tweeted.
Attached to the tweet were the photographs of the Mr Okesanmi and a partly redacted copy of a bank debit slip. He did not, however, state what offence he was arrested for before the alleged extortion. Mr. Okesanmi denied he extorted money from Mr. Asiwaju. He told PREMIUM TIMES he arrested Mr. Asiwaju after he was accused of blackmail and rape by a female student of the University of Ilorin.
He said Mr Asiwaju was arrested at Bovina Hotel, Ilorin at about 1 a.m. and brought to the state police headquarters where the case was assigned one of his subordinates, a sergeant. He said he soon left the office as he needed to rush home to freshen up for an event he was billed to attend alongside the state commissioner of police that morning.
The spokesperson said to his “utter shock” when he returned to the state police headquarters later that day, the sergeant who was assigned to investigated the case told him Mr Asiwaju had escaped while he was being led to search his hotel room.
“We took his statement and he confessed to the crime. We also took his phone because it contained the videos and picture he was blackmailing the student with. He escaped while he was being led to search his room in the hotel where he was staying. The incident led to some punishment being meted out to the police man.
“We started looking for him. We wanted to blow up the incident but the girl, fearing that her image would be tarnished, pleaded that we should soft-pedal. We have travelled to Lagos to the addresses he wrote to get him arrested but we have been unable to arrest him,” he said.
He added that he did not collect any money from Mr. Asiwaju and did not spend an extended time with him. “It is not in my character to do that. I never did that before and I will not do it. I will not even come low as doing that with a petty criminal like that.”
He added that the investigation will reveal whether the sergeant, identified simply as Sunday, collected money from Mr. Asiwaju or not. He, however, said if Mr Asiwaju was sure that he transferred the money to him or gave him any cash he should come out and prove his allegation.
“The matter is now in the public space he should be confident enough to come out,” he added. Mr Asiwaju did not respond to PREMIUM TIMES’ request to be interviewed, but he has been relentlessly tweeting about what he claimed happened on the night he was arrested.
“The PPRO of Kwara State Police Command was the one that took 2,000 dollars from me and he was the one that told me to transfer 115k into Sunday’s account. PPRO shouldn’t try and put everything on Sunday,” he wrote in one tweet.
While Messrs. Okesanmi and Asiwaju trade blame about what transpired on the night of July 7, the lady, who will be identified here by a pseudonym, Linda, because she does not want her real name used fearing that her parents would disown her and kick her out of the house if they found out what happened, explained how she was caught in a web of blackmail and an alleged rape after she met Mr Asiwaju on Instagram.
The 21-year-old 400-level student said after she met Mr Asiwaju on Instagram, they stated hanging out sometime in 2016 while she was doing her industrial attachment in Lagos. “When I met him, he told me he wanted a relationship but he confessed that he has a son. He was a very nice person and we talked and we laughed a lot,” she said.