Some officers of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) are facing a probe after a surveillance team of the agency allegedly caught them in a suspected act of extortion of commuters, sources familiar with the case told PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday.
Officials of the agency, barred from speaking to the press over the matter, told this newspaper in confidence, that the operatives who were arrested in Sagamu, Ogun State, South-west Nigeria, have been recalled to face probe at the zonal headquarters of the agency in Lagos.
They told this newspaper that the tactical surveillance team of the agency also made a futile attempt to arrest a civilian suspected of helping the allegedly offending officers to take and keep bribes.
â€œAfter arresting the entire team, the surveillance team swiftly made efforts to get the civilian receiving the proceeds too,â€ one of the sources said.
According to the sources, the surveillance team met â€œa stiff resistanceâ€ when they attempted to arrest the civilian â€œas he created a scene that could trigger an unwarranted uproar at that location.â€
The surveillance team had to let go of the civilian, PREMIUM TIMES was told.
This newspaper was informed that the tactical surveillance team was recently set up by the Corps Marshal of the FRSC, Dauda Biu, to fight against bribery and extortion among officers of the agency.
The team is expected to be on a nationwide patrol.
Video clip Sources provided a short video clip capturing a scene of an encounter the arrested team of operatives in Sagamu had with a motorcyclist.
In the 2.50-minute-long clip, one of the operatives was seen holding the motorcyclist by the waistband of his trousers, and dragging him along on a main road.
During the struggle between them a voice from the background called for the release of the motorcycle in Yoruba.
The motorcyclist later wriggled from the officerâ€™s hold by stripping himself to his pants.
Sources said the FRSC surveillance team had shifted attention to the Sagamu team upon â€œthe discovery of the modus operandi of the operatives, which involved co-opting civilians to receive the proceeds of the bribe on behalf of the patrol team.â€
Probe The members of the team arrested in Sagamu were â€œrecalled to the Lagos Zonal Headquarters at Ojodu-Isheri for proper investigation,â€ PREMIUM TIMES was told.
â€œIf found culpable after investigation, they will be disciplined according to relevant sections of the Federal Road Safety Commissionâ€™s maintenance of discipline,â€ a source added.
When contacted, FRSC spokesperson, Bisi Kazeem, confirmed the arrest of the operatives and the ongoing probe.
Mr Kazeem, assistant Corps Marshal, warned â€œcivilians who collude with FRSC teams in this nefarious and unpatriotic act to desist henceforth or be ready to face the wrath of the law when apprehended.â€
He also called on the motoring public to resist the temptation of offering any kind of bribe whatsoever to FRSC patrol teams.
â€œAs for the suspected culprit, the Corps Marshal empathically assured that he will be arrested and prosecuted in a court of law, so as to set a precedent that will deter other perpetrators,â€ Mr Kazeem added.