By Osahon Osagie
The timely intervention of the Commissioner of Police, Edo State Command [CP] Philip Ogbadu, on Friday, saved the lives of two officers, who were about to be killed by an angry mob for extorting the sum of N10,000 and a phone from a young man in Benin city.
The incident, it was gathered, happened at about 9:30 am at the Obakhavbaye Street junction off Oba Market Road in the Oredo Local Government Area of the state.
The mob, in their hundreds, had descended on one of the Police officers, holding him hostage, out of the five officers that were alleged to collect a phone and the sum of N10,000 from a young boy.
But the quick intervention of the Commissioner, however, saved the situation.
It was further gathered that the officers had accosted the young boy at the TV Road area of Benin metropolis and forcefully collected the boy’s android phone and the sum of N10,000.
The young boy, while narrating what transpired between him and the police officers to the angry residents, said the police officers in a dark coloured Sienna vehicle with no registration number stopped the Lexus Jeep with registration number Edo RRU 350 NE, he was driving at TV Road and collected his android phone and the sum of N10,000.
According to him, “they stopped me at TV road. Immediately they stopped the vehicle I was riding in the company of my sisters, they took my android phone and N10,000.”
“They demanded for my vehicle documents which I presented to them. Having found the documents to be completed, they still entered the vehicle. They didn’t tell me my offence. Probably, they think I was into internet fraud.
“They also destroyed one of my sister phones,” he added.
The young boy whose name was not known at press time, said the police officers, who are five in number, said they were from the Anti-cultism unit of the Edo State police command headquarters, Benin city.
The crowd was attracted following the resistance put up by the young boy, thus forcing the police officer to abandon the Lexus Jeep and the occupants at the Obakhavbaye Street Junction by Oba Market Road and zoomed off with the phone and the money.
Luck, however, ran out on one of the policemen, who could not keep pace with his fleeing colleagues and was apprehended by the growing crowd, which, in sympathy with the young boy and his sister, held the stranded police officer hostage with the condition that he would be released only if his colleagues returned the Android phone and the money.
The atmosphere, it was gathered, became charged, when the other policemen returned to rescue their colleague and one of them threatened to shoot.
The threat infuriated the crowd, who also held another of the policemen hostage on the same conditions of release.
As tension continued, the CP, acting on a distress call made to the Command’ Headquarters, raced down to the scene, alongside the command chain of his beat and calmed down the restive crowd by handing over to the young boy, all the items forcefully taken from him by the policemen.
The elder brother of the young boy, who is the original owner of the Lexus Jeep, also came along to take his younger ones home from the scene.
Some members of the restive crowd, who condemned the actions of the policemen warned that unless the police authorities in Benin took immediate actions to curb the excesses of their officers and other ranks. another round of #EndSARS protests might not be ruled out in the state.