• Mounts 19 check points between Abuja and Benin
• Collects as high as N20,000 from motorists over trumped up charges
Alex Enumah in Abuja (THISDAY)
Police officers across the country have apparently decided to disregard the directive of the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to dismantle all road blocks across the country this yelutide.
Idris as part of efforts at guaranteeing safety of lives and property during the forthcoming Christmas and New Year celebration had specifically directed the Assistant Inspector General of Police and Commissioners of Police “to ensure that no roadblock is mounted anywhere in the country, including those by revenue agencies who are prohibited by law from obstructing any road or highway under the guise of collecting revenue.”
The directive was made public in a press statement by Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Jimoh Moshood last Sunday.
However, THISDAY checks revealed that the directive is obeyed in breach as it is being disregarded by men of the Force. Several road blocks have been mounted in major high ways across the country.
For instance, a source who travelled from Abuja to Edo State capital, Benin City counted 19 road blocks, with stern looking policemen bringing up various charges against vehicle owners all in the bid to extort money from them.
“They stop you for no reason and expect you to give them something. They will ask for receipts of plate number, car radio and all what not to make sure you are charged with one offence or the other. At times they demand for as high as N20,000 from vehicle with tinted glasses,” the source said.
The source, who preferred anonymity said he was frustrated after calling on Force PRO to rescue him on three different occasions on his trip to Benin City in Edo State.
He said the leadership of the police should urgently take a look at the development so as to rescue travellers from the hands of the officers.
Similar reports were also received by THISDAY from some travellers from other parts of the country especially the Eastern region where the disobedience is said to be most flouted with alleged high level extortion.
“Police Federal Highway Patrol Teams, Safer Highway Teams, Divisional Patrol Teams and other tactical squads have been mandated and are under strict instruction to be polite, civil but strict in ensuring security and safety of travellers and other road users on all the highways and major roads throughout the country. The motor traffic divisions of the Force in every state are to ensure free flow of traffic throughout the highways and major roads in the Country. They are to enforce the road traffic act in totality.
“The Inspector General of Police has equally directed the Assistant Inspector General of Police and Commissioners of Police to ensure that no roadblock is mounted anywhere in the country, including those by revenue agencies who are prohibited by law not to obstruct any road or highway under the guise of collecting revenue. CPs and AIGs to ensure visibility police and crime prevention patrols in their Area of Responsibilities (AOR) throughout the country, this is to make sure that safety and free passage for all travellers nationwide are guaranteed.
“The personnel of the Force will be on 24Hours round-the-clock surveillance and robust vehicular patrols throughout the Yuletide and the New Year. Particular attention and adequate police deployment will also be carried out on places of worship and venues of celebration including strategic public places, recreation centres, shopping malls, business plazas, motor parks, government installations and other important locations so as to forestall any criminal activity and guarantee the safety of the citizenry”, part of the December 16 statement had read.
When contacted, Police Spokesman, DCP Jimoh Moshood did not answer the call of this reporter, neither did he respond to text message sent him.