ABUJA — A Chief Superintendent of Police, CSP, Oyanwenda Ekho-J, yesterday, told a Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Senior Magistrates’ Court in Karu, how he arrested a former colleague, Corporal John Enekele, for extortion.
Enekele, who was dismissed from the force in February for allegedly extorting N11,000 from Inalegu Onah, is currently facing trial.
Enekele was arraigned on March 28 on a one-count charge of extortion before Senior Magistrate Aminu Abdullahi. He, however, denied the charge.
At the resumed hearing, yesterday, Ekho-J, Commander of the FCT Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, testified that he arrested the accused person who was on an illegal duty on February 2, this year.
Led in evidence by the prosecutor, Sergeant Atteh Effiong, Ekho-J alleged that Enekele was in possession of N11, 000 he forcibly collected from his victim.
He said other incriminating items such as three SARS bullet proof jackets, four gallons of diesel and a large quantity of marijuana in a black polythene bag were also found on the accused.
The prosecution witness told the court that he was on routine visit to SARS office on February 2 when he saw an unusual gathering on his way and stopped to find out what was happening.
He said: “I saw the accused person and one Paul, who was in a SARS bullet proof jacket, and I demanded to know the officer in-charge of the operation.
“Paul moved close to me and introduced himself in an unofficial police manner. I quickly detected he was not one of us. I became suspicious and demanded for his police warrant card but the accused told me he had just passed out of police training school and was still awaiting his warrant card.
“I later discovered that Paul, who posed as an officer, was the accused person’s partner on illegal duty.”
Ekho-J said he asked the accused person what the crowd was doing on the highway instead of taking them to SARS station for proper investigation of the alleged crime they committed.
He told the court that he had to send for the most senior guard commander at the SARS gate and ordered that they should all be taken to the office for questioning and detailed investigation.
He said: “Investigation later revealed that the accused person arrested Onah with four gallons of 20 litres of diesel, handcuffed him and locked him inside his car for no reason.
“The accused insisted that Onah must pay a bribe of N30,000 before his release or stand the risk of being taken to SARS base for torture.
“Onah gave him all he had amounting to N11,000, but the accused insisted that he must pay the balance of N19,000 before he would be released.
“Onah had no option than to call his brother to meet them at SARS gate with the balance, which they were waiting for before I arrived at the scene.”
According to Ekho-J, the accused denied collecting any money from the victim and his denial prompted me to order an on-the-spot search of his car.
He said that “all police officers, including me, are entitled to only one bullet proof jacket each, and I wondered where the accused got the extra three jackets found in his possession.”
Ekho-J said the accused was dismissed from the police after he was found guilty in an in-house trial, and later charged to court.
The prosecutor tendered in evidence all the items allegedly recovered from the accused person which the court admitted as exhibit.
He, however, asked the court for adjournment to enable him present his third evidence which the court granted.
Following the prosecutor’s request, the magistrate adjourned the case to August 19.