Nigeria Police And Roadblocks
Nigeria News take a look at the removal of roadblocks as ordered by the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris
It could be frustrating for a newcomer to travel some roads in Nigeria. Not because of the dilapidated structures of the roads but the dangers of armed robbery, kidnapping and avoidable accidents.
There are good roads anyway but there are thousands of bad roads that had thrown many families into mourning. This is a common scenario as successive governments give their best to make it better.
However, another thing that impedes journey on the roads is police checkpoints. Men of Nigeria Police Force position themselves on major roads to stop vehicles arbitrarily, causing traffic and at times accident.
Apart from the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC that are assigned by law to monitor the Federal Roads and ensure there is no accident, the policemen also patrol the expressway to provide security for travellers.
While their purpose on the roads should be applauded, it has been observed that these corps and policemen have turned the highways into a business centre where they extort motorists in the guise of keeping the road safe.
No doubt, some vehicles are not road worthy. Their tyres are worn out with various mechanical problems. Most commercial drivers drive under the influence of alcohol and marijuana.
The recklessness of the drivers is enough for police to always be on the road.
But armed robbers, according to findings now disguised as policemen and mount roadblock to waylay and attack road users on many of the expressways.
Such roads as the Lagos/Ibadan Expressway, Benin-Ore, Kano-Kaduna, Owerri-Port Harcourt, Akure/Okenne have been observed to be the den of armed robbers and kidnappers, most of whom now dress in police uniform to perpetrate crime.
The activity of hoodlums on Nigeria highways is a setback for investment. Businessmen take their trade to neighbouring countries where there is better security.
Indeed Nigeria police is one of the best in Africa with effective intelligence but the lack of enough personnel and equipment have hampered the performance of the law enforcement agent.
Nigeria police are not well remunerated and one of the ways the officers augment their wages is by extorting motorists.
Early this week, the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris ordered all police roadblocks to be removed nationwide.
He also set up a special squad to arrest and discipline any erred policeman found in this act. To Idris, the roadblock is affecting business and delay movement of people and goods.
According to him, most foreign and local investors complain too much of the pressure they face travelling on the roads from the policemen.
He lamented that hoodlums now disguise as policemen to rob innocent people of their personal belongings.
The police boss said henceforth any policeman on patrol must wear his name and number barge for proper identification and that all police formation must provide adequate identity on their patrol vehicles.
Perhaps, this will reduce armed robbery on the highways and consequently improve travel time for travellers and goods.
Meanwhile, our correspondent who travelled along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway observed that the policemen had complied with the directive.
Except at the middle Toll Gate where there are various law enforcement personnel like FRSC, Customs and policemen, the road to Ibadan from Lagos is free of the roadblock.