Residents of Masaka area in Nasarawa state have shared experience of how they witnessed police officers implementing coronavirus lockdown assaulted and forcefully collected N15, 000 bribes from a supermarket for operating during the lockdown.
The customers, who spoke to the Media Advocacy West Africa Foundation team that visited the community to interact with residents and find out the impact of coronavirus on them, gave different accounts of how the police assaulted supermarket operators in Masaka and collected the sum of N15,000 bribe.
Miss Mercy, who prefers her first name mentioned, narrated to the MAWA team how the police officers stormed Evergreen Supermarket located in Masaka and demanded the operators give them the sum of N15k or be locked up in the police cell.
She, however, explained that out of fear, the Supermarket operators gave the officer the sum of N15k.
A situation Mercy said angered some of the customers in the supermarket who threatened to beat up the police officers for what they called ‘robbery’.
She added that the customers challenged the officers for forcing supermarkets to close during the coronavirus lockdown when indeed they have been excluded by the federal government sit at home directive because of the essential services they provide.
She disclosed that when one of the customers threatened to call a senior police officer and report their activities, the officers quickly left the place.
Miss Evelyn, another witness told the MAWA team that it took the intervention of customers to rescue Evergreen Supermarket from the officers who had earlier demanded the Supermarket operators gave them the sum of N50,000 or be detained.
She narrated how the officers stormed the Supermarket, sent all customers away, and threatened to arrest the operators and detain them.
She, however, explained that the action of the police angered customers who wanted to lynch the officers, forcing them to leave the place after collecting N15, 000 bribes.
A police officer who spoke to MAWA on the condition of anonymity, said although some arrests were made, but said he is not aware of the Evergreen Supermarket incident.
Note: Picture not real, used for an illustration.
This report is supported by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa OSIWA