Residents of No. 79 Bajulaye Street, Somolu, Lagos State, have recounted with shock and disgust, how the former Divisional Police Officer (DPO), in charge of Alade Police Station, bullied them into paying for the medical bill of a suspected thief, who was attempting to steal from them.

The young thief, Ismahim Timiriyu 23, was said to have sustained injury on May 7, 2016, while attempting to scale the fence of a building to steal. Timiriyu was caught by residents and handed over to Alade Police Station.

The DPO, identified as Ajimuda, however, detained some of the residents, insisting that others should go and take care of the injury Timiriyu sustained while attempting to scale the walls of the building to steal. One of the residents, Mariam Shittu, said: “I was forced to stay with the suspect in hospital all through the night at the National Orthopedic Hospital, Igbobi, Lagos.”

Shittu, daughter of the owner of the house the suspect targeted, said Timiriyu, on that fateful day, around 1: am, scaled the fence of their building and got injured by broken bottles placed as security measure on the fence.

While Timiriyu was busy working his way into the compound, through the fence, he didn’t know that some residents were sleeping at the open space in the compound. Immediately he jumped down, the residents were upon him like fleas over a dog.

While fielding questions from the outraged residents, Timiriyu said that he came only to steal food to eat. He said he was hungry. He told them that his father abandoned him when he was just 12-year-old to fend for himself. Shittu said: “We reported the matter at Alade Police Station.

The DPO, Mr. Ajimuda, dispatched some policemen to our compound. The thief was picked. But the DPO, rather than detained the thief, detained my brother, Taiwo and one of our tenants, called Niyi. Ajimuda ordered that I should stay with the thief in any hospital he was taken to. He further said we should pay the suspect’s medical bill. The DPO said unless these conditions were met, those arrested wouldn’t be granted bail.”

Shittu wondered why she should be made to look after a thief in the hospital, who was attempting to break into her compound, to steal. She also wasn’t happy that she had to leave her three-month-old baby at home, to stay with Timiriyu. According to her, residents had to cough up N25, 500.00 to pay Timiriyu’s medical bill. Taiwo, who was detained, said he couldn’t believe it when the DPO ordered his men to detain him, instead of the suspect. He described the situation as “travesty of justice.” He said he was further stunned when police, rather than investigate

Timiriyu after treatment, allowed him to go. Taiwo said: “This is how innocent people suffer in this country. Timiriyu went home free, while we spent a night in police detention. We were also made to spend money on his treatment. That’s total injustice!” Another resident, who craved anonymity, said the DPO was disliked by most of the residents. He added that most residents had repeatedly called for his removal from Alade Police Station, before the demand was granted.

The resident added: “The residents of the area were tired of the DPO and his station officer. The DPO turned the police station into Funsho William Avenue, where he displays and sells cars.

He had even once released a rape suspect, who was duly identified by his victim. These are some of his many deeds.” Our correspondent however gathered that the DPO ordered the residents to pay the suspect’s medical bill, because he didn’t want Timiriyu to die from the injury he sustained. A source alleged that the DPO also discovered that Timiriyu’s father truly threw him out of the house when he was just 12-year-old. He had since been fending for himself. The source said: “Timiriyu’s father admitted it.

What Timiriyu needs is rehabilitation. The DPO’s order that residents should foot the bill for his treatment was not in bad faith, or to upturn justice.” The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Dolapo Badmus, reacting to the incident said: “There had been pockets of complaints about the former DPO of Alade Police Station, but his transfer was as a result of routine change of posting, which is normal within the Nigeria Police Force.”

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