By Oluwatoyin Malik
Call him Sergeant Mathew Julius or Inspector S. Edo, you will be still be speaking about one and same person. The man in question, whose real names are Timothy Adigun and who was dismissed from the Nigeria Police in 1991 for performing illegal duties, had thereafter assumed different identities to extort members of the public until he was arrested by operatives of State Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Oyo, on August 12, 2011 at his hideout on Ibadan-Iseyin Road.
In addition to extortion, the Ogbomoso-born Adigun reportedly formed a three-man gang with two others, Tunji and Jimoh, and were robbing people of their motorcycles, while pretending to have arrested them. Also, Adigun made sure that he promoted himself anytime he heard that his course mates in the police force had been promoted, hence his rank as an Inspector though he was dismissed as a Constable!
According to information gathered, the criminal activities of 45-year-old Adigun came out in the open when he was reported by his landlord at Atiba Police Station that he had disappeared with the man’s motorcycle. The landlord had informed the police that his tenant who was a policeman attached to the Division had left with his motorcycle for two weeks and had not returned it.
With a similar case previously reported at the same Division, detectives began a manhunt for the suspect. After alerting Oyo SARS about the suspect, operatives from the unit, led by the officer-in-charge, DSP Olusola Aremu, reportedly stormed Adigun’s abode at Iya Kola village along Ibadan-Iseyin Road where he was apprehended.
Narrating how his journey into the world of crime began, Adigun, who said he was married with four kids told Sunday Tribune that “After I passed out of Ilorin Grammar School in 1987, I joined the Police Force in 1990. While in secondary school, I was very notorious and was much of a thug. After I left police college in Ilorin, I was working with Kwara State Police Command.
In 1991, I was posted to NNPC depot but left the place for Oke Oyi, NNPC area to mount an illegal checkpoint with three others. We were discovered there by the Officer-in-Charge of Criminal Investigation Department and were arrested. We were taken to the Command headquarters, tried and dismissed.
“After my dismissal, I went back to Ogbomoso and started farming at Iresaadu. Because it was in me to extort, I started collecting money from smugglers who passed through the farm road by putting on my police uniform and flashing my fake police identity card. The smugglers used to ‘settle’ me with N5,000, N10,000. I was able to use the uniform because I only submitted one to the Police Force
while I kept one back.
“When I noticed that people were beginning to suspect me there, I left the place for Iseyin and started working with Customs officials that were on the road by giving them information about the smugglers whom I already knew. I didn’t let the Customs officials know that I had been dismissed from the police. After the smugglers must have settled the Customs officials, the officials would then give me something from whatever they were given.
“I had already spent about five years there when information got to Iseyin police division about me. I was arrested and charged to court. The court sentenced me to two years imprionment in 2008 and I served the term in Agodi Prisons. By the time I came out in 2010, my wife had left with my four children and I have not seen them since, neither do I know their whereabouts.
“On my return from the prison, I left Iseyin for Iya Kola Village along Ibadan-Iseyin road and rented a room there. I started seeing the same smugglers I knew before and after I made them believe that I was previously posted out of that place and had just been posted back, they started ‘settling’ me with N5,000, N10,000.
“While in prison, I met with Tunji and Jimoh who were Oyo indigenes. They described their house for me in Oyo and after I left the prison, I went to look for them and they introduced me to snatching/stealing motorcycles. They said I could be leading them as an officer while I would be pretending that I was arresting the okada riders. After the arrest, I would tell the rider to meet me at the station but the motorcycle would be taken away to be sold.
“We were able to do that once and I was given N10,000. My gang members told me move closer to Oyo so that we could work smoothly. One of them helped me to get a room in Ilora and I told the landlord that I am a policeman, showing him the picture I took with my uniform. I told him I was working with former governor of Oyo State, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala and had to leave Ibadan when he left government, lying that I had just been posted to Oyo Area Command.
“The second time I attempted stealing okada was when I asked my landlord to lend me his motorcycle, telling him that I wanted to travel home. The action was based on the advice of my partners-in-crime. I went to Iya Kola Village and started using the motorcycle personally.
“When he did not see me, my landlord went to Atiba police station to report that the policeman working with the Division had gone away with his bike. Detectives came to arrest me but Tunji and Jimoh escaped”.
On how he got the identity card he was using, the suspect said he found the ID card in Ilorin Barracks, removed the passport photo attached to it and put his own. Also speaking on how he was getting his new ranks, Adigun said he used to approach his coursemates, who didn’t know he had been dismissed, to get the ranks which he would sew on his uniform after removing the old rank. He added that none of his family members knew that he had been dismissed from the police force as he used to pretend as if he was still working.
“I was doing all these because it was in my blood”, Adigun said.
Commenting on the case when Sunday Tribune sought confirmation on the story, the police image maker in Oyo State, ASP Femi Okanlawon, said the suspect would be charged to court after completion of investigations.