Lagos police probe rise in cases of phone thefts

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The Lagos State Police Command is investigating a reported increase in cases of phone theft where victims have to pay to retrieve their phones.

This development followed a viral video by a Nigerian film director, Biodun Stephen.

Reacting to the viral video on X, the Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Police Force, ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, stated that the Lagos State Government and Police will investigate the issue.

He wrote, “This will be looked into. I have contacted the Lagos State Police Command and the government. We need to actually know what’s happening in that area.”

Stephen had raised the alarm in a video posted on her Instagram page on Thursday, seeking the help of security agencies and the government to curb the menace.

She said, “I’m making this video as a special appeal to our governor, President, and everybody in power.

“There is a pandemic, a menace that is occurring, and I know that one to four people can testify to this.

“You can no longer walk on the streets in certain areas in Lagos: Oshodi, Agege, Lagos Island, and some other environments to mention a few.

“You can’t pick a phone call on the road as you’re walking. This bunch of guys will gather around you and demand for your phone if they don’t even snatch it.

“When they snatch your phone, they will tell you brazenly to your face, ‘If you want to collect your phone, go back and bring money.”

She added that she heard about a case of a lady whose phone was snatched, and she ended up paying N50,000.

She further described how the phone of one of her crew members was snatched in Agege in broad daylight.

She said, “Yesterday, this one happened, and it hit close to home. A crew member of ours, we kept on calling him, he didn’t pick. We were worried and kept on calling, so he was forced to pick his phone on the streets of Agege, and suddenly, seven, eight boys gathered around him, brandishing weapons.

“Please understand that this thing happened around 9:30am. People were passing and going, and everybody ignored him.

“The person selling goods close by, that was watching the exchange did not intervene. It means that this is what is occurring in that place.

“They were pushing him around, telling him that they will stab him, they will kill him, and nothing will happen.

“Until he paid because he wanted to collect his phone, he ended up parting with N5,000 yesterday.

“And as he was telling us that story, another person was confirming it that three weeks ago, the same thing happened to her.”

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