Three policemen consisting of a superintendent and corporals have been detained for allegedly allowing the suspended Chairman of the House of Representtaive Ad hoc Committee on fuel Subsidy Regime, Mr. Farouk Lawan to go home at night while in detention.
It was learnt on Monday that investigators suspected that Lawan did not spend Thursday and Friday nights in police custody.
He was allegedly taken to his Apo residence at night and returned to custody very early in the morning, in violation of custodial rules and regulations.
However, another source said the policemen merely allowed the lawmaker to go home to refresh and take his bath in the mornings of Friday and Saturday.
This came to the fore on Monday just as our correspondents learnt the Special Task Force investigating the $620,000 bribery allegation levelled against Lawan by Zenon Oil Chairman, Mr. Femi Otedola, ran into a brick wall on Monday.
It was learnt efforts of the team to retrieve the alleged $620,000 bribe were successful as the lawmaker failed to bring the money when he came to the Force Headquarters on Monday.
A member of the STF, who spoke with one of our correspondents on the condition of anonymity, lamented that the police were also not getting the cooperation of the House leadership in their efforts to retrieve the money.
It was learnt that the Commissioner in charge of the Special Task Force, Ali Ahmadu, who discovered the security breach, reported the incident to the Acting Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar.
The IG reportedly ordered the detention of the policemen.
A source said, “The three policemen are now in detention for flouting police rules on handling of suspects in detention and they are going to pay for it.
“But the officers are saying that they acted on an instruction from a superior officer, who has disowned them.”
It was learnt that the police authorities might employ a tougher stance against Lawan to force him to cough out the $620,000. The police high command is yet to determine the next line of action on the issue.
The member of the STF, who spoke with one of our correspondents, said, “Lawan came and he did not bring any money. Even the leadership of the House, which we have contacted has not done anything.”
The Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Frank Mba, said he was not aware of the development.
He said he would find out from the STF and get back to our correspondent.
Meanwhile, Lawan’s counsel, Mr. Sam Ologunorisa, in an interview with The PUNCH warned against the harassment of the lawmaker.
He said, “If he has not been released, we will have gone to court today. Investigation must go on, but it must be within the ambit of the law. It must follow due process.”
Also, the National Chairman, Action Congress of Nigeria, Chief Bisi Akande, urged the police to ensure an unbiased investigation into the $620,000 bribery scam.