Nigerian Viral Video Exposes Police Extortion, Leads to Firing

The fired officer claimed he was "not working alone," possibly suggesting a wider corrupt network.

Posted: 08/09/2013 04:00 PM EDT

A revealing instance of blackmail gone wrong found one Nigerian police officer sacked and the nation’s entire police force scrutinized.

Stopped by Sergeant Chris Omeleze while driving from the Lagos airport, an unidentified motorist secretly filmed Omeleze trying to negotiate a bribe to avoid an alleged traffic offense.

The viral video brought this encounter to the attention of the Nigerian central police command.

Omeleze was subsequently fired less than 24 hours after the video materialized, bringing his 21-year-old police career to a halt.

Reuters reports:

The video has received 117,500 hits on YouTube, been retweeted and replayed on all Nigeria's main TV channels.

is all he has Omeleze originally asks the driver for 25,000 naira but the man protests that 2,000 naira ($1 = 160 naira).

The policeman says this is not enough, adding: "I am not working alone. Look, if you enter this compound (the police station), you will pay bigger money."

He then appears to notice the man has some dollars, but the driver says that he needs them for excess luggage.

After much argument, the policeman appears to make a phone call to a colleague and tells him the driver refuses to pay up. He then advises the driver that he had been instructed to book him for the traffic offence.

Analysts say corrupt police officers in Africa's most populous country do not work alone but are part of a mafia-like racketeering network going far up the chain of command.

It often worsens during election cycles when politicians, who wield influence over police, need more money for patronage.

For the full story here.

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(Photo: REUTERS/George Esiri/Landov)

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