By Emmanuel Uti, FIJ
Emeka Okoro, a crypto trader based in Cross River State, has narrated how officers attached to the Akim Police Station in Calabar extorted N1.7 million from him in three weeks.
On November 10, Okoro heard a strange knock at the door of his newly rented apartment in the Akim area of Calabar. He was with his younger brother and friends.
When he opened the door, he saw faces of gun-wielding police officers, who asked everyone in the apartment to give up their phones for a search.
“We complied instantly,” Okoro recalled. “Then they began to search the house.”
When they found nothing incriminating, one of the officers asked them to come out of the apartment to identify themselves.
According to Okoro, the officers pronounced them fraudsters and asked them to pay N10 million to bail themselves or risk rotting away in jail.
“The officer who pointed his gun at us was already drunk. The stench of marijuana was all over him. So, failing to comply with what one of them told us to say would be suicidal,” Okoro said. “I knew I could not run away because some of my brothers and friends were still in their custody. I then withdrew N700,000 and paid the officers before they let us go. The officers collected our numbers after we paid them, but we did not know why until later.”
The officers called Okoro tirelessly to send them money, seven days after extorting N700,000 from him. He said that when he refused to answer their calls, one of the officers sent a text to threaten him.
This was not the first time the officers would extort him. On October 19, Okoro and his younger brother were hunting for an affordable apartment in the Effio Ette area of Calabar when a police van double-crossed them.
The officers gripped him and his brother, asking them to enter their van.
“One of the officers pointed his gun at me,” he told FIJ. “As I looked dumbfounded, the officers then seized our phones. One of them asked me to identify myself. I introduced myself as a crypto trader. They asked me to either bribe them with N2 million or be taken to EFCC.”
Okoro said he haggled the price of his bail and ended up paying N1 million because he was afraid the officers could kill him.
Following constant calls from Sir Lion, the leader of the extortion team, Okoro and his younger brother fled Calabar, leaving their belongings behind.
When FIJ called DSP Irene Ugbo, Cross River Police Spokesperson, she said Okoro could report to her office, and promised that she would make sure he got his money.
Ugbo said: “Let him come to my office, I assure you, he will get his money in full. That officer must give him everything.”
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