Abortion, bribery scandal rock Lagos Police College … senior police officers, abortion syndicate squeeze cadets for cash
A police syndicate collected money and secretly carried out abortions for female cadets at the Police College, Lagos, to falsify pregnancy tests, OLALEYE ALUKO, who went undercover to the police hospital for two days, reports
A major scandal is brewing within the heart of the nation’s best-known police college, the Police College, Ikeja, Lagos. Tinuola Akande, a former cadet, is one of the individuals caught in the web of this scandal. The other characters in the drama, which started earlier this year, are other female cadets, senior police officers and an abortion syndicate comprising medical doctors at the police hospital.
Akande and other police cadets were some months into their training at the police college when they were told that they would have to take a pregnancy test. They were also told that female cadets who tested positive would be dismissed. So, when she tested positive during the routine test, Akande knew there was danger. Desperate to save her career, she sought the help of an abortion syndicate in the police hospital. The syndicate promised to abort the pregnancy and also find a way to change the result of the first test and replace it with the new one.
“I can recall the day the abortion was conducted. It was Friday, February 3, 2017. The doctor collected N15,000 from me,” she said. Akande was smuggled into the hospital in the middle of the night and a medical doctor conducted the abortion.
“But after (the abortion), I was still dismissed. I went back to the doctor and he said I should go and be prayerful. Six of us had abortions at the police hospital,” Akande told our correspondent last week. The results were not changed.
Our correspondent, who posed as a human rights activist, met with four of the five dismissed cadets. The cadets were reluctant to talk. They were afraid of dismissal. However, when they finally spoke, they gave mind-boggling insights into the activities of an abortion syndicate in the heart of the country’s best-known police college.
Police doctor demanded N35,000 for abortion
Twenty-five-year-old Hafsat Mohammed, a mother of one and a former cadet inspector from Kebbi State, is one of the cadets who tested positive to the pregnancy test.
“When the pregnancy test conducted on me showed that I was positive, one of the doctors at the police hospital asked me to bring N35,000 so that I could abort my pregnancy. I told him I had only N15,000. He said N15,000 was not enough. So, from that day, I ignored him and deleted his number,” she said.
Mohammed, who was desperate to remain in the school, went for the abortion at a private hospital. She paid N10,000. Yet, she was dismissed. She believed she was dismissed because she refused to cooperate with the abortion syndicate at the police hospital.
“Two weeks ago, the commandant called five of us and said a signal from Abuja said we should be dismissed. I have lost my pregnancy. But I know my name was included for dismissal because I did not agree to pay the doctor at the police hospital for abortion. My pregnancy was eight weeks. My husband knew about the abortion. Now we are both pained because the police work I tried to keep is gone,” she lamented.
Twenty-four-year-old Adejobi Oluwaseun, who hails from Lagos State is among the dismissed five. He told our correspondent that a senior police officer invited her and asked for a bribe to falsify the pregnancy test results.
Oluwaseun said, “I was a cadet constable. My pregnancy was not up to a month. I had the abortion outside the police hospital. I did not initially know the doctors at the hospital were collecting money (to carry out an abortion and change the list).
“We were on the field and we having a practice session on a day when I was called to the hospital. A senior police officer said I should bring money so that she could help falsify the pregnancy test results. I told her I would see her later. She then said I should go.
“One of the persons that also tested positive to the test later told me that she paid N15,000 to a doctor (name withheld) and had her pregnancy aborted. I was sad that she did not inform me to take that option and now I have been dismissed from the training.”
How it all began
Our correspondent learnt that all the cadets at the Police College, Ikeja, started their training on November 31, 2016. The duration of the training is 12 months for cadet inspectors and nine months for cadet constables.
The inspectors were drawn from all 36 states of the federation while the constables were selected from Lagos, Osun and Ondo states. About 2,000 police trainees are currently at the college.
Sunday PUNCH gathered that the pregnancy test is a directive from the Force Headquarters, Abuja, in January 2017. A source at the office of the commandant of the college said over 200 female cadets were tested at the laboratory department of the police hospital.
He said, “The test was done till around 9pm. Over 200 ladies were screened. Out of that number, about 15 cadets tested positive to pregnancy. However, 13 names were on the list released from the laboratory department.” The source did not explain why the names of two cadets who also tested positive were omitted from the list.
During his visit to the hospital, our correspondent persuaded one of the policemen to share the laboratory report, the document containing the names of the cadets who tested positive. The policeman agreed and supplied the document. The document was signed by the hospital’s Medical Director, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, Olubunmi Ogunsanwo.
The names on the list are: Otene Josephine, Iboyi Laughter, Helen Ojo, Enveche Gloria, Hafsat Mohammed, Aniyeloye Aderonke, Ilesanmi Omotola, Adejobi Oluwaseun, Adebobola Tolani, John Virginia, Ayo Olamide, Tinuola Akande. However, our correspondent couldn’t get the name of the 13th cadet as the source held the document and refused to release it while our correspondent hurriedly copied them. (Our correspondent pleaded to be allowed to photograph the document, but the source also refused.)
Inside the syndicate
A source privy to the events of the period said that a doctor who is a member of the abortion syndicate invited the 13 cadets and advised them to consider aborting their pregnancies.
The source added that the female cadets were warned to keep the abortion as a secret. They were also told to be “grateful” to the hospital workers for providing an “escape route.” However, he added that not all the cadets agreed to work with the syndicate.
A hospital worker, who spoke to our correspondent on the condition of anonymity, gave insights into what happened at the hospital.
“The nurses at the hospital cannot claim ignorance of the abortions. We knew when the ladies were smuggled into the theatre and taken to the ward thereafter to look like ordinary patients.
“Ask them to produce the original pregnancy test list. They cannot because it will put the hospital authorities in trouble. The heads of all the departments in the hospital are aware of the abortion scandal but they have been warned to keep it a top secret. Most of them were shocked at the falsification of the pregnancy test results by the syndicate,” she said.
The source said that police officers within the college were unhappy with the injustice meted to the cadets. He added that the officers could not protest because top officials of the hospital were involved in the scandal.
The source said, “The dismissed ladies and their states have been shortchanged because the allocation to their states has now been reduced. The five ladies are still lobbying the police authorities in Lagos and Abuja to consider their plight, but whether that will be successful or not, we do not know.
“How is it possible that some of the cadets who tested positive to pregnancy test on January 19 suddenly tested negative and were cleared to continue their training? The police hospital must be asked to provide an explanation for that.
“We should also ask the commandant of the college how many of the trainees were pregnant and how many names were submitted to him by the medical director? If the police had done a clean job and submitted all the names of the 13 female cadets, there would be no controversy.”
NMA demands investigation
The Nigerian Medical Association has lent its voice to condemn the act.
The NMA President, Prof. Mike Ogirima, who was briefed on the saga in the police hospital, told our correspondent that the security agencies must investigate and bring anyone found culpable to face the law.
“Constitutionally in Nigeria, abortion is not allowed. Although, we may have some unavoidable situations where there can be loss of pregnancies. But we have always maintained that there is a need to sanitise the medical practice and guard against the activities of quacks.
“The government agency which handles this is the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria. Therefore, we must beam searchlights on places where these illicit acts are carried out, and we must bring all those culpable to face the law.
“There are several branches in the medical practice, and a doctor who is trained to deal with the issues of pregnancy is a gynaecologist. Therefore, my take is that the government must begin to rid the system of all elements perpetrating such illicit practice,” he explained.
We’ll find out about allegation — Police
When contacted, the Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Jimoh Moshood, said he would find out from the commandant of the college, and get back to SUNDAY PUNCH.
The Force spokesperson did not get back with further details as of press time.
When contacted, the Medical Director of the hospital, ACP Olubunmi Ogunsanwo, said he was not authorised to speak on the incident, but denied that abortions were conducted at the hospital.
He said, “Can I see you in person? I don’t want to be quoted on this. But there is no truth in that allegation.
“A police hospital cannot do such thing. What happened was that I was not the coordinator of that screening exercise. It was a woman. She just forwarded the results to me and I did same to my Assistant Inspector-General of Police in Abuja.”
The phone conversation was four minutes and two seconds.
A text message was also sent to the Commandant of the college, CP Chris Ezike, which had yet to be replied to, as of press time.
The Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Jimoh Moshood, confirmed that 295 female cadets underwent the pregnancy tests and other medical examination, adding that the only the dismissed five tested positive.
The Force spokesman refuted any allegation of abortion at the police hospital, saying it was “spurious because abortion is illegal and criminal.”
He said, “As part of the police process of recruitment, we published the names of all the cadets in the newspaper. We did that so that anyone with questionable character can be identified and asked to go.
“Medical tests were conducted, including pregnancy tests for females. There was a second directive that all training schools, including Ikeja should carry out pregnancy tests. Out of 295 female cadets in Ikeja, only those five were found to be positive.
“There is no way to bring in a pregnant woman into training. The health of the mother and the unborn child is paramount. So, if anyone among those asked to go is making allegations that some cadets were positive and aborted, we will carry out our investigation.
“I have spoken with the commandant and he has confirmed that nothing like abortion took place. There is no ground for spurious allegations. Abortion is illegal and unlawful, and police institutions cannot do that. It was only those five dismissed that were found positive.”