Three Divisional Police Officers in Lagos are currently at daggers drawn over alleged ‘allowance’ paid them by the operators of motor and commercial motorcycle parks along Cele Bus Stop, Mile Two Expressway and the management of the manufacturing factories around the area.
The route is also dotted by garages run by many car dealers, who are also alleged to pay ‘allowance’ regularly to the DPOs.
Our correspondent gathered that the warring DPOs, who are in charge of Ilasamaja, Okota and Ago, respectively, are usually paid about N20,000 ‘allowance’ weekly by each of the motor parks, auto dealers and factories around the area.
The three DPOs (names withheld), according to a source in the police, have, however, been at war over whose jurisdiction the ‘juicy’ parks and factories in the area fall.
It was gathered that the three officers have even resorted to using suspected hoodlums, popularly called ‘Area Boys’, to stage protests around the police stations in the area to harass and embarrass one another.
Our correspondent learnt that one of such protests took place recently at the Ilasa Police Station under the control of a female DPO.
A source said, “They have been trading powers in the past four months, unknown to the authority. The acrimony between the officers was said to have been taken to their weekly briefings that usually take place at the Command headquarters in Ikeja, as none of the three DPOs now see eye-to eye, regardless of their ranks and years of service. They hardly exchange compliments.
“What initially started as a cold war was finally brought to the open penultimate Wednesday, when one of the DPOs, reportedly instigated area boys from the Motor-Park to lay siege to Ilasa Police Station, chanting war songs, with the objective of intimidating the female police officer-in-charge of the station.”
The carnival-like protest was said to have attracted passersby, who mocked the officers by berating their actions.
According to an activist, Mr. Dandy Eze, who said he was informed of the development by one of his friends, “I was personally uncomfortable with the action of the other two officers against the woman DPO. Everything boils down to corruption in the police. It is very disheartening that a serving police officer could mobilise area boys against their fellow officer for no other reason than pecuniary gains.
There are local maps IndIcaTIng jurIsdIcTIons. no polIce offIcer for ThaT maTTer would feIgn Ignorance of TheIr jurIsdIcTIons. be ThaT as IT may be, i will fInd ouT from The offIcers you have jusT mentioned, whaT acTually happened
“It has become a tradition within the police to take ‘returns’ from motorists across the country, most especially in Lagos, where such money is called ‘protection fee or ‘Owo Olopa.”
He further said that the leadership of the police should view the matter very seriously before it would degenerate.
“Mr. Fatai Owoseni is a man of honour. I know him personally and he would never condone this type of arrant nonsense. I only think that he should treat the matter expeditiously now and calm frayed nerves,” Eze said.
An eye witness had earlier told our correspondent that while the harassment was going on at Ilasa, the other two DPOs were cheering the unruly area boys, through their mobile phones, while they jeered at the female DPO i n charge of Ilasa, Superintendent Oriyomi Oluwasomi Titilayo, said to be “a very hard-working and cool-headed officer.”
Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, Mr. Tajudeen Agbede, told our correspondent that none of his members had the right to lead any form of protests to a police station without first informing him of their planned action.
“My union and the police have always enjoyed some cooperation. You know that I am a peace-loving person. Although I have a mechanism of finding out what transpired. It is only in isolated cases that such a thing could happen. Even then, street urchins could masquerade under the guise of being our members with the view of causing breach of peace,” he said.
Agbede also denied allegations that members of the union, especially its local chairmen have been involved in giving daily/weekly monetary returns to the police. He said, “I would not know. I cannot be everywhere. But, if there are certain things you need to do to allow peace to reign, do it. They say give Caesar what belongs to Caesar. Thank you.”
Our correspondent’s findings revealed that the disputed Cele Bus Stop area actually falls within the jurisdiction of the Ilasamaja Division controlled by the female DPO, Oriyomi.
A police officer around Ago hinted our correspondent that the other two male officers, who have jurisdictional maps hung on the walls of their offices, were aware that they were fighting an unwarranted battle. “The feuding male DPOs, most especially, the one in-charge of Ago, knew from the beginning that the area in question was not his jurisdiction, but simply capitalised on the fact that Supol Oriyomi is a woman.”
When our correspondent visited the three divisions on Tuesday, the DPOs declined to speak, saying it was only the state commissioner of police or the spokesperson that could speak on such a matter.
However, the spokesperson for the Lagos State Police Command, Superintendent Dolapo Badmos, told our correspondent that every police Division in the state has its own jurisdiction.
“There are local maps indicating jurisdictions. No police officer for that matter would feign ignorance of their jurisdictions. Be that as it may be, I will find out from the officers you have just mentioned, what actually happened. Just call me back in an hour’s time for a feedback,” Badmos said.
But as at the time of filing this report, there had yet to be any official response from the command spokesperson.