A ride-hailing service driver with Bolt, Thankgod Woko, has accused a vigilante group of extorting him of N105,000 and allegedly detaining him for four hours over an offence he knew nothing about in Aluu, Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Woko told journalists that the local security outfit codenamed: OSPAC, claimed that he was an accomplice to a money lending scam.
The driver said trouble started after he dropped off a passenger in Aluu, who refused to show up again after he had asked him to wait for a while, adding that he felt unperturbed since the second passenger was also waiting for the first man in his vehicle
Woko stated, “He (first passenger) said I should just wait because he wanted to collect something and the other guy was inside the car. So, we waited for like one hour and he didn’t come back. I now told the other guy that I wanted to leave and he could alight from the car since the other man’s phone was not going through.
“Before I knew it, the second guy pounced on me and started harassing me that I was not going anywhere. He said the first passenger owed him N100,000 and that I was working with him. He put a call through to the OSPAC personnel and they took me to their office.”
He said the OSPAC team insisted that he should pay the money despite his efforts to make them understand that he knew nothing about the transaction, adding that the head of the vigilante ordered his men to detain him.
Woko stated, “The commander didn’t even allow me to say anything. He said they should take me inside and that I would have to provide the passenger I conveyed to Aluu. He added that I was working with him and that I am a criminal.
“They detained me for four hours. They said they would not allow me to go without paying the money. I had to pay the money to one of the OSPAC men.
“The name that appeared on the transfer details is Samuel. They now said I had to bail myself and they were shooting in the air and it was getting scary.
“I had to pay an extra N5,000 for bail. I really want my money back, because I work for it. I didn’t want to argue, because nobody knew what would have happened to me considering what had been going on with these people (vigilantes).”
But reacting to the incident, the OSPAC Commander in Aluu, Obinichi Wordu, said it was a situation that was amicably resolved and the said amount was returned to the rightful owner, even as he accused the driver of criminal activities.
Wordu stated, “I know this boy; he is a ‘one-chance’ man. I want to use this opportunity to warn residents to be careful of Corolla cars. We in Aluu have recorded more than seven women that the ‘one-chance’ people pushed out from their vehicles.
“He (Woko) lied to you people (journalists). He was even begging us to allow him to pay the money. He is working with the man he conveyed. I have evidence of the money he paid and I can send the printout of the transfer he made to you.”
Asked why the driver was released if he was a suspected ‘one-chance’ robber as claimed, the vigilante commander said the matter was before the Aluu Police Division, adding, “We made out statements there.”
Efforts to reach the spokesman for the state police command, Nnamdi Omoni, proved abortive as he did not take his calls and also did not reply to a text message sent to his mobile phone as of the time of filing this report.