26 FRSC officials arrested over extortion

Another set of 26 officials of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) have been arrested by the operatives of Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in collaboration with some agencies of the Federal Government for allegedly extorting money from road users on Nigerian highways.

Other agencies involved in the operations tagged “Operation Tranquility” included the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and the Department of State Security (DSS).

The part of the operation in Owerri, Imo State, also led to the arrest of a man, who was alleged to be the custodian of the proceeds of extortion, a statement signed by the ICPC spokesperson, Mrs Rasheedat Okoduwa, of which a copy was made available to newsmen in Abuja, on Wednesday, said.

The statement read “the operation, which was the second one in three months since the beginning of 2019, was also conducted simultaneously across four states of the federation between October 2 and October 5, 2019 following the receipt of a complaint from the management of the FRSC of extortion activities by some members of its patrol teams nationwide.

The statement said the FRSC management had, in the complaint, observed that incidents of extortion were rampant on highways across the country. The just-concluded operation was conducted in the four states of Imo, Zamfara, Ondo and Yobe.

Nine FRSC officials and a man who was a civilian in Owerri, Imo State; eight in Kaura-Namoda, Zamfara State; five in Ore, Ondo State; and four in Potiskum, Yobe State were arrested respectively on roads across the states.

Various sums of money were allegedly found on the arrested corps officials and the civilian during the operation before they were taken into ICPC custody.

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All the officials and the civilian arrested have been granted administrative bail pending their prosecution by the commission at the conclusion of investigations.

In a related development, ICPC also arrested two suspects – Mr Onosemuode Roland and Mr Jacobson Ubong Jonathan, who specialized in forging school certificates at the University of Port-Harcourt (UNIPORT), Rivers State.

The principal suspect Roland (AKA Rolex) was nabbed through a sting operation successfully carried out by ICPC operatives at the Choba Campus of UNIPORT. The suspects specialized in forging school leaving result, diploma and degree certificates.

Earlier, ICPC undercover operatives approached Mr Roland and requested him to produce an original Bachelor of Engineering Certificate in Chemical Engineering to aid in employment into one of the oil servicing companies which he agreed to do for the sum of N45, 000.00.

Roland was arrested after producing a forged degree certificate and on receiving the balance sum of N25, 000.00 marked money.

Subsequently, he volunteered a statement in the presence of one Mr Atarhinyo Solomon Igho and a lawyer Mr Dennis Enyi Nwokah, where he admitted the allegation of certificate forgery and mentioned Mr Jacobson Ubong Jonathan as a conspirator who was later arrested by ICPC operatives.

As further investigation was ongoing in the matter, the suspects have since been granted administrative bail by the Commission.

The suspects would be charged to court for allegedly committing offences that contravene Sections 15 and 25 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act.

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