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Police refund 250k extorted from native doctor

By Our Reporter

The Nigeria Police Force has refunded the N250,000 the personnel of the Lagos State Commissioner of Police Tactical Unit, Ijegun, extorted from some traditionalists for having “Ifa” calabash in their vehicle.

SaharaReporters reported on Sunday how the personnel of the Lagos State Commissioner of Police Tactical Unit, Ijegun, allegedly extorted N250,000 from some traditionalists for having ‘Ifa’ calabash in their vehicle.

The Lagos Coordinator for Take-It-Back Movement had disclosed to SaharaReporters on Sunday, that though the police released the traditionalists, the officers refused to return the N250,000 extorted from them.

But speaking to SaharaReporters on Monday, the Coordinator for Take-It-Back Movement confirmed that after SaharaReporters published the extortion, the police authorities immediately directed their personnel involved to refund the money.

“I can confirm to you that the Money extorted by the Nigerian police from the hands of Ifa worshippers has been refunded after my intervention and Sahara Reporters story.”

SaharaReporters had reported that one Supol Mike who arrested the traditionalists in a recorded telephone conversation which was made available to SaharaReporters, is heard telling the caller: “If I have charged them to court, will you be calling and demanding for refund of money?”

When asked by the caller what their offence was, the police officer responded that “they were suspected to be cultists and ritualists”.

“If I have charged them to court, will you be calling me? You called me and I released them to you, why are you calling me again about money extorted from them?”

The officer also said that the only things found on them were ‘Ifa calabash, palm kernel and Aje shell’.

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However, the TIB, a pro-democracy organisation has demanded an immediate refund of the extorted money, adding that “their offence was seeing them with ‘Ifa’ calabash which we don’t think is a criminal offence as everyone is entitled and have the right to worship whatever he or she believes in”.

The TIB coordinator regretted that the traditional religion practitioners were detained for about five hours without stating any form of offence they committed except that they were found with ‘Ifa’ calabash.

He said, “I spoke with one of the officers who also confirmed the reason for the arrest and I asked if it is a criminal offence in Nigeria for someone to be fetish.

“They were detained without any substantial evidence to tag them a criminal. I spoke with the OC (officer-in-charge) who heads the tactical unit and he also confirmed nothing incriminating was found on them except the ‘Ifa’ calabash and said they will be released on bail when they get the real fact that their ‘Ifa’ calabash is not harmful.

“The policemen later released them after they were forced to withdraw the sum of N258,400 from a Point of Sale (POS) agent just outside the station.”

“Contents of the Ifa ceramic were palm kernel and ‘Aje’ shell. Practising Ifa is not a criminal offence; why did they extort the sum of N258,400 from them?” TIB asked.

Source: SaharaReporters

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