- ‘DPO has turned us to ATM’
- He has PoS machine with which he collects bribe – Lawmaker
This DPO is not the first person to work in Sagamu as DPO but he has turned the entire Sagamites into ATM machine. Beginning from 8am, he will be arresting people illegally for no just cause and we have appealed to him times without number, he refused to listen to us and I know the Nigerian Bar Association is also coming up with their own petition. We are coming out en masse on a peaceful protest to say ‘no’, ‘enough is enough’, this DPO must go.
Residents of Sagamu local government area of Ogun state have appealed to the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase to investigate and redeploy the Divisional Police Officer of the division, CSP John Mark for allegedly turning them to ‘ATM machines’.
The residents in their hundreds hit the street of Sagamu yesterday in a peaceful protest which started from the palace of the Akarigbo and Paramount Ruler to Remoland, Oba Adeniyi Sonariwo across major streets of the town.
The protesters which included legal practitioners, market women, hoteliers and youth organizations were armed with different placards with inscriptions like, ‘The God of Sagamu rejects John Mark’, ‘Sagamites unite against police extortion’, ‘Save our soul: Oga John Mark has turned Sagamites to his ATM machine’, ‘Bail is free so-they-say,
Sagamites are sick of John Mark’s extortion’, ‘There’s no war/fight in
A legal practitioner who was part of the protest, Barrister Bamgbelu Moses alleged that the DPO has continually arrested residents for no just cause and that they will not be allowed to go until huge sum of money is paid.
Moses who further alleged to have witnessed how the DPO allegedly collected N50, 000 from an assault suspect said that the DPO has also refused to charge cases to court because of the extortion.
He said, “I came back into the country last year and I met my people agitating about what the DPO in Sagamu has been doing, extorting money illegally from our people, refusal to charge matters that supposed to go to court to court, and he will forcefully demand a lot of money from our people, that is the reason why we came out today to say ‘enough is enough’.
“I have had an encounter with him sometimes in January in the presence of His Royal Highness, Ewusi of Makun, this man refused to release an assault case; he failed to release the man until he collected the sum of N50, 000 before he could release the suspect and many more.
“In my office, I have nothing less that eleven petitions from different people in town; Hoteliers Association, individuals that have forwarded petitions, I have been to the Area Commander’s office to hand-over to him, a petition written on behalf of all the youths in Sagamu because enough is enough.
“This DPO is not the first person to work in Samau as DPO but he has turned the entire Sagamites into ATM machine. Beginning from 8am, he will be arresting people illegally for no just cause and we have appealed to him times without number, he refused to listen to us and I know the Nigerian Bar Association is also coming up with their own petition. We are coming out en mass on a peaceful protest to say ‘no’, ‘enough is enough’, this DPO must go.”
Another woman, Olori Omotunde Osho who claimed to have reported an assault case to the police station said she was arrested and had to pay N30, 000 before she was released and later charged to court.
The woman who brandished pictures of herself and her two children with
injuries said, “On Friday, some people came to my house to fight my children, they fought inside my sitting room and when we went into the station to go and report, the DPO ordered the police officer not to follow me to the scene of the incident.
“The following morning, we went again to the police and on my way coming back, these people came to my house to attack me again and I went to the station for the third time but this man told me it is ‘average’, he has to collect N30, 000 before they bailed us. I was not arrested, I was the one who went to the police to report and I was asked to pay, my husband paid the money and they later charged me to court, is it because they have collected the money from other persons?”
One of the youth leaders and a former Councillor of the Area, Hon Akeem Elegbeji also narrated how the DPO allegedly demanded N150, 000 before a suspect was released.
He further added that a case which was initially filed as ‘malicious damage’ was twisted to robbery case when the DPO transferred the case to the Command headquarters in Eleweran in Abeokuta.
An Hotelier who claimed to be the owner of Abey Lincoln Hotel in the city also alleged that raiding his hotel has been a routine exercise for the DPO and that anyone arrested must pay N10, 000 before being granted bail.
“I have been in this town since birth, on January first, this man came to my hotel and raided 21 people, and he collected N10, 000 each before they were released. Also on February 21, he came again and arrested 9 people and also collected N10, 000 each before they were released, this cannot continue when we are not criminals. We have
worked with many DPOs and there was no problem. He asked us to pay N50, 000 and it was because we failed to pay that he started arresting people,” he said.
As at the time of filling this report, the state Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Muyiwa Adejobi was being awaited for his official reaction.
Sagamu DPO has been in very controversial circumstances in the recent past.
Not too long ago, majority leader of Ogun State House of Assembly, Hon Yinka Mafe said he has about 50 petitions against the Divisional Police Officer.
Mafe, representing Sagamu I state constituency, also hinted that the House might summon the Commissioner of Police, Abdulmajid Ali, and the command’s spokesperson, Muyiwa Adejobi, on the alleged criminal cases against him.
It will be recalled that the lawmaker, last Tuesday, raised his voice before the House over alleged criminal extortion of the DPO subsequent upon which the Assembly ordered a probe of the DPO.
But the Police through its spokesperson, Muyiwa Adejobi said Mafe has no moral justification to raise such issues as he has about 15 criminal cases linked to him.
Mafe however urged the police to conclude investigations into the alleged criminal cases in order to charge him to court.
He queried why the police command waited until he accused a senior police officer before it came up with allegations of 15 criminal cases against him. He, however, said he was not aware of such criminal cases against him.
He said, “I don’t want to sound like I alleged the DPO, I have in my posession, series of petitions from victims of extortion, criminal extortions I called them, because these are innocent people that would be arrested unlawfully and money would be demanded from them and until they pay those monies they wouldn’t be allowed to go home. I see it as criminal extortions.
“As I speak, we have over 50 petitions and these people are ready to come out, in fact the Honourable from Sagamu constituency II was informing the Speaker that the DPO has a PoS machine with which he collects bribe and I am putting this on record quoting Hon Soyebo because he’s from Sagamu as myself and I think that is grievious.”
The Leader of the House also wondered why the Command whose leadership including the Commissioner of Police, Abdulmajid Ali and the PPRO was at his birthday celebration a fortnight ago would associate itself with someone being investigated for criminal activities.
“Its suprising, two weeks ago, the CP and the PPRO were in my premises and they were there for all night, we were together. If I have these criminal charges and investigations going on, I wonder why they will associate themselves with me.
“But having said that, I am not aware that I am being investigated, it is surprising that I just opened the papers and see that the PPRO said the police have 15 cases they are investigating against me. They should speed up the investigation and charge me to court and let’s meet in court,” he said.