Four police men, including an inspector in the Zonal Command of the Nigeria Police Force, Zone 16, have been arrested and detained for allegedly collecting N20 million from two suspected internet fraudsters known as Yahoo boys in Bayelsa State.
The police men also accused of abducting the fraudsters, were said to have colluded with two civilian accomplices, Eyi Mattthew Excel, and Mayor Goodluck Arab, who allegedly set up the two Yahoo boys for extortion and abduction.
It was gathered that the arrested police men had confessed to the crime.
It was also learnt that the police operatives reportedly stormed the residence of the Yahoo boys, who are indigenes of Bayelsa State but just flied in from Ghana last Monday.
The police men arrested them after they had been blindfolded.
The Yahoo boys were said to be kept in an unknown hotel in Azikoro town, where they tortured and threatened to kill them if they don’t cooperate.
The police men claimed that someone from Ghana accused the fraudsters of theft and they threatened to kill them if they refused to give them N50 million.
However, after negotiations, the boys paid N20 million, which the police men withdrew in two tranches of N7 million and N13 million from the Automated Teller Machines of two commercial banks in Yenagoa.
Also, the police men later reportedly offered to give protection to the boys in Yenagoa and they exchanged phone numbers with them.
But after a few days, the policemen allegedly asked for another N10 million from the boys and a friend of the victims, who learnt about their ordeal, decided to report to the Nigeria Police Force headquarters through the number they exchanged.
The report attracted the attention of the police authorities in the state.
Preliminary investigations showed that the Assistant Inspector General (AIG) for Zone 16, Benjamin Okolo, on receiving information on the matter ordered the arrest of the accused policemen.
On investigation, the AIG was able to know that the accused officers were not members of a police team to arrested fraudsters and were operating without the knowledge of their superiors.
A police source, who was not authorized to speak on the matter pleaded anonymity and said: “They (the accused police men) work at various units but do shady deals together. In the past, they were nearly killed by some military officers along Agbura Road in Ogbia Local Government Area where they mounted illegal roadblock to extort oil bunkerers.
“Already, the accused police personnel have returned the N2.5million they each made from the Yahoo boys extortion deal, while Eyi Mattthew Excel is reported to have returned his share of the deal but is still at large, Mayor was arrested and granted bail but has absconded.”
Meanwhile, the Public Relations Officer for AIG Zone 16, Mrs. Ikwo Kevin, confirmed to newsmen that the suspected internet fraudsters defrauded some foreigners of $28,000 and were arrested by some unauthorized police officers.
She said: “The fraudsters confessed to the crime and pleaded for leniency but instead of the police doing the needful, they compromised by collecting monies from them. So, when the AIG got wind of the matter, he ordered their arrest and detention.
“The information we got was that the police got N10 million while the informant also got N10 million for their own share, but they eventually returned N7.5 million from their hideout and are still on the run. The monies the police officers got were also recovered while investigation is still on.”