Accidents: Disband police checkpoints in South-East, HURIWA tells IGP

Posted by News Express | 20 February 2022 | 351 times

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•IGP Usman Baba Alkali


A civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has called on the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, to disband roadblocks manned by police personnel in the South East.

HURIWA said the call was prompted by the alarming but avoidable rate of tragic accidents and loss of lives at police checkpoints in the South-East states of  Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu,  and Imo, Enugu.

The civil rights group made the call in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, on Saturday, insisting that the menace of illegal checkpoints by policemen and their constant extortion of South-Easterners must be checked.

The group lamented that the presence of corrupt policemen on extortion spree has been responsible for the extrajudicial killings of drivers in many parts of Nigeria because the drivers refuse to part with as low as N100 bribe.

HURIWA recalled the most recent horrific auto crash happened on Friday, February 18, 2022, before Azia Junction, by the Ihiala–Onitsha Expressway, in which a truck rammed into six vehicles at a police checkpoint before landing on a bus allegedly filled with passengers.

The Federal Road Safety Commission, Anambra State Acting Sector Public Education Officer, DRC Margaret Onabe, said that 63 people comprising 52 male adults, 10 female adults, and one male child were involved in the crash. She however confirmed only two casualties.

“The Friday accident was just one out of many. Some parts of Anambra, including the Onitsha-Owerri Road, Idemili, Obosi, Oba, and other parts of the entire South-East are notorious for police checkpoints and extortions,” the group said.

Quoting Newspaper reports, HURIWA said that no fewer than 30 persons hava been killed at police checkpoints in the South-East between January and February 2022. Some of the killings were as a result of avoidable crashes while others were reportedly by gunmen.

It recalled that Justice Ike Ogu of Anambra State High Court, had in January this year, ordered the state government and the police to remove all roadblocks in Anambra but the police are still operating roadblocks without any restraint.

The judge had delivered a judgment in the case of Francis Moneke vs Anambra State Government and Others, saying the government and police had no legal justification whatsoever in erecting roadblocks on major roads in the state on the pretext of checking insecurity.

Justice Ogu held that such illegal blockage flagrantly violated the applicant’s right to freedom of movement and should be immediately removed to allow the free movement of persons and vehicles but the police, in its lawless manner, continue the usual checkpoints, causing a lot of pain to motorists as police personnel use the opportunity to extort motorists.

Onwubiko, therefore, urged the IGP to obey the court order forthwith and disband the illegal checkpoints which serve no purpose but to hasten the death of innocent citizens,” Onwubiko said.


Source: News Express

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