The Divisional Police Officer in charge of Ojo Police Division, under Area ‘E’ Command, Lagos State, Mr. Abubakar Umoru, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), may have landed himself into trouble, over alleged extortion and unprofessional conduct labeled against him by some traders in Alaba international Market, Lagos.
Umoru, according to some protesting traders of the Fancy and Furniture section of the popular Alaba International Market, Ojo Lagos, compromised his position when he allegedly insisted that the traders should pay the sum of N300,000 levy per shop to their Union Chairman, Mr. Emeka Mozoba, in an ongoing matter marked as suit No BD/90/2013, pending before Justice M.A. Okikiolu-Ighile of the Lagos High Courtsitting in Badagry.
In a three-page petition to the Inspector-General of Police copied to the Federal Minister of Justice, Nigeria Bar Association and the Registrar, High Court 2, Badagry, signed by their lawyer Barrister Paul Chiweta Ezeani and captioned ‘Obstruction of Administration of Justice, by Mr. Abubakar Umoru, DPO, Ojo Police Station’, the traders alleged that the actions of the DPO if unchecked would go a long way to mar the image of the Police Force, which they said has tremendously improved since Mr. Solomon Arase assumed office as IGP.
The petition dated April 13th, 2016 accused the said DPO of ordering the protesting traders to pay the rent of their shops to the chairman of Fancy and Furniture Dealers Association, of the Alaba International Market, Ojo Lagos State, who is a defendant in the case, pending the determination of the suit.
“True to their boasting, the DPO during the interview he conducted on 12th April, 2016, ordered our clients’ tenants to pay rents of the said shops to the 7th and 8th Defendants pending the determination of the suit, or else the said shops shall remain padlocked. This was after the 1st defendant repeated his claim to the said shops, stating that he was reliably told by his counsel that the ruling delivered by the court on 5th April, 2016 will be in his favour; but without any rationale, the court ruled in favour of our client, insisting that he is the owner of the shops and therefore in full support of padlocking the shops to force our client’s tenants to pay rents to the 7th and 8th Defendants until the suit in court is decided,” the traders stated.
This alleged act by the DPO, the traders said, was “intolerable, condemnable and wanton disrespect of the Court as well as obstruction of the due administration of Justice.”
The traders therefore implored the IGP to call the DPO to order as well as ensure that the rule of Law prevails over the rule of jungle.
In his reaction, the DPO denied any wrong doing, insisting that he had ordered the Union Chairman to unlock all the affected shops hence the matter was in court.
However, in response to our earlier text message on the crisis, the spokesperson of the Lagos State Police Command, Mrs. Dolapo Badmus, a superintended of Police (SP), confirmed that “there was a peaceful protest last week by members of the market against some of their fellow traders and not against the DPO. Policemen led by the Area Commander monitored the protest and it was in no way violent. However, if anyone has complaint about any policeman been partisan, they should bring it to the notice of the Commissioner of Police of the Command, it will be investigated and any one found culpable will be sanctioned.”
It would be recalled that recently, over 600 traders at the popular Alaba International Market in Lagos, protested alleged eviction and unlawful lock-up of their shops by thugs working for the market union.
The traders carrying placards with various inscriptions such as ‘Buhari/Ambode, save us’ ‘Rule of law must prevail’, ‘Obasi, Okafor, Nwakunna, Mozoba respect the Court”, alleged that the union controlling their section of the market, tagged Fancy and Furniture, were compelling them to pay N300,000 levy per shop in disregard to ongoing court proceedings between the traders and their Landlords.
There was a peaceful protest last week by members of the market against some of their fellow traders and not against the DPO. Policemen led by the Area Commander monitored the protest and it was in no way violent. If however anyone has complaint about any policeman being partisan, they should bring it to the notice of the Commissioner of Police of the Command, it would be investigated and any one found culpable will be sanctioned – PPRO