It was reported that the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone 2 (Lagos and Ogun) Police Command, Joseph Mbu, has denied the allegation of torture made against him by a foreign exchange dealer, Alhaji Suleiman Yerima.
Mbu said the allegation was an attempt by the suspect to divert attention from his group’s alleged fraudulent activities.
Yerima had alleged that Mbu instructed a Deputy Superintendent of Police, Ibrahim Dantoro, to dip his face into a bucket of water-a form of torture known as “water-boarding” used to extract confessions from terrorists.
The businessman, in a petition to President Muhammadu Buhari, had alleged that he was detained for 80 days by the police and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, along with his friend, Uwem Antia, who he said was blindfolded and beaten.
Mbu on Thursday, during a press briefing, which was attended by the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Kayode Aderanti, and his Ogun State counterpart, Valentine Ntomchukwu, said that Yerima’s allegation was simply diversionary.
According to Mbu, the command had received three separate petitions against the syndicate consisting Yerima, Antia and Chief Reagan Edet and that investigations by the command showed that the three were fraudsters who also had cases in court.
The AIG revealed that two of the syndicate’s latest victims, who worked in banks, had lost their jobs due to the incident.
Mbu said, “I read in the papers about some people saying I ordered their torture. These are people who specialized in defrauding people. Somebody gave you N300m and asked for dollars, and the next day you disappeared. Those who borrowed from businesses have lost their capital, while those who worked in banks have lost their jobs.
“They failed to tell the press how they offered Dantoro N50m so that the matter would be swept under the carpet. We will not allow injustice.”
The Operation Commander of Legal in the Zone 2 Police Command, Chukwu Agwu, explained that the command had released the suspects to the EFCC since April, saying their allegation of torture was an afterthought.
He said, “Yerima and his group fraudulently obtained N424m from two victims with a promise to give them its dollar equivalent in February 2015. Contrary to their promise, they disappeared into thin air with the money.
“The matter was reported to the AIG Zone 2 Police Command, Lagos, where the victims revealed that the group had duped another victim of over N200m the same day, but the victim reported the case to the EFCC.”
The suspects were said to have been arrested by the EFCC due to one of the victims’ petition.
Agwu said the command, having received two petitions as well, requested their release for interrogation.
“After police interrogation, the suspects were returned to the EFCC on April 7, 2015 within the period of court order for their detention. There was no torture or infringement of the suspects’ rights or allegation of such while in our detention,” he added.
It was learnt that the police received another petition from a legal practitioner, Ayo Olubo and Co, against Yerima and members of his group, for alleged conspiracy and fraudulently obtaining $2.5m.
Agwu said the command was still investigating the case.
“Our investigation revealed that Yerima, Antia, Edet and their cohorts, are not foreign exchange dealers and do not own or operate any Bureau-de-Change. The same Yerima is being prosecuted for a similar crime at the Federal High Court since 2009. He is equally being investigated by the EFCC as an unrepentant and hardened fraudster,” he added.