The Nigeria Police Force has commenced investigations into the alleged professional misconduct, abuse of office, and extortion of Twenty-Two Million Naira worth of Bitcoin from some citizens in Lagos State, leveled against a Deputy Superintendent of Police, Nwawe Cordelia, and others, serving at the Force Criminal Investigations Department (FCID), Alagbon, Lagos.
Two young Nigerians, Morakinyo Tobiloba Peter, and Yusuf Samson Dayo, in an interview with Sahara Reporters, had alleged that three officers attached to the Force Criminal Investigation Department Annex, Alagbon Close, Lagos State, extorted N22,000,000 worth of bitcoin from them on July 14, 2021.
They said they were stopped by the officers while driving along the Ikoyi/Ajah Expressway by the team of police officers in mufti led by one officer Austin, who adopted a fictitious name “Osas”.
The duo said they were treated like criminals while their boss, one DSP Cordelia Nwanue with force number 145341, asked the officers to kill them if they cannot pay N20million as bail.
“We were driving on the Ikoyi/Ajah Expressway precisely at 1004 on the 14th of July 2021, when a team of police officers in mufty accosted us and ordered us to park. We parked and the police officers jumped into the car and ordered us to open our phones.
“Since we have nothing to hide, we gave them our phones and they found nothing incriminating. To our surprise, they ordered us to drive down to their office, we insisted we must know our offences before we can move down to the station. But the police officers descended on us and beat us for disobedience. They claimed we were too fresh not to be fraudsters. We begged them and showed them that we are realtors. We gave them our identity cards and showed them some of our ongoing projects but they insisted we were fraudsters.
“When we got to the police station at FCID Annex, Alagbon Close, Lagos, we were quickly pushed into the cell and they went away with our mobile phones. The police officers returned some hours later and told us we were trading in Bitcoins.
Before we knew it, they started beating us and calling us Yahoo boys, we told them we were not Yahoo boys. We explained that we are realtors and it was because of the decline in naira that we converted our money into bitcoin, but they kept beating us and they said we should write statement around 8:00pm in the night.
We wrote the statements and they tore it into pieces and wrote another statement for us and forced us to sign it. We did sign the statement and they took them before their boss, DSP Cordelia Nwanue with force number 145341, Admin section, FCID Annex, Alagbon Lagos,” they added.
Mrs Uwanue asked her officers what happened and they narrated the whole story to her, they told her we are Yahoo boys which we denied and the woman said they should give us bail condition. They demanded N20million from us and when we said we don’t have such amount of money. The woman said they should go and kill us if we insist we cannot pay them N20million as bail.
Officer Austin who led the team also adopted a fictitious name so that people will not know his true name. He was addressed as Osas by DSP Uwanue, he was the one who took us to the cell and threatened to kill the two of us if we cannot transfer the N20million in bitcoin to them.
So when he brought out his gun and was taking us out of the cell to kill us as ordered by his boss, DSP Uwanue, we now succumbed to him and said he should remove the money from our account. He insisted he wanted bitcoin and not naira. He provided another bitcoin account and he transferred N22million equivalent of bitcoin from our account.”the victims said
In a statement released this evening, Police spokesperson, Frank Mba, said an investigation became imperative following the allegations leveled against the officers. He said DSP Cordelia and the other Police personnel allegedly indicted in the report, have been ordered to report to the Special Investigation Panel, Force Headquarters, Abuja, on Tuesday, 21st December 2021 to answer to the allegations against them.
He said the Special Investigation Panel will be headed by DCP Olaolu Adegbite, MFR, of the Force Intelligence Bureau (FIB).
”DCP Adegbite holds a Masters Degree in Philology (Russian Language) from the Pushkin Institute, Moscow, Russia, and is an alumnus of the FBI National Academy, Quantico, Virginia, USA.
DCP Adegbite, a member of the Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (MFR), was a pioneer investigator with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) where he rose to be Director of Operations (2012-2015). An experienced and detailed investigator, he is expected to bring his vast knowledge in investigating corruption-related cases to bear in resolving this case.
The Force advices any member of the public who has had similar experiences of high-handedness or extortion by the officers in question, her team or any other officer at the FCID Alagbon to come forward with detailed information to enable the panel achieve a wholistic investigation.” Mba said
He added that the alleged actions of the Police Officers in question do not represent the standards and practices of the Nigeria Police Force and as such any officer found wanting will be visited with the full wrath of the law. He averred that members of the public are enjoined to remain calm as the Force will provide timely updates and make the outcome of the investigation public.