As a security measure the Nigeria Police, like their counterparts across the world, devised road blocks on streets and major roads to check crime. But the tactic employed has been greeted with public condemnation amidst claims that the measure had assisted the police to curb crime.—
While some respondents insist on the importance of police presence on the roads, others said such road blocks have continued to serve as avenue for the police to extort money from motorists instead of checking for dangerous weapons, stolen vehicles and criminals on the run. They emphasized that the notoriority witnessed at such road block called for proper re-orientation and discipline among officers to curtail the excesses.
Some motorists noted that the more the check points the more money they pay which varies between fifty to one hundred naira. Regrettable the sufferers of this action are the passengers who are made to pay higher fare. They observed that the turn over the police makes may have encouraged officers of the Road Safety Commission who have joined the band wagon.
It was one of such situation that governor Amaechi experienced on the third of January this year on his way from Ohakpu in Imo State where he attended the third annual Orlu Senatorial District day and Cultural celebration. Irked by it, the governor alighted from his car, walked up to the most senior officer and reprimanded him.
Governor Amaechi condemned the road block that allowed motorists to curl up in traffic hold up and warned that serious disciplinary action will be taken against officers at road blocks who subject motorists to inhuman treatment.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Mrs. Rita Inoma-Abbey listed the number of road blocks to include legal patron, beat, fixed routes, abeden, discretionary and non-discretionary systems with the designated officers operating as directed.
She however noted the lack of regular supervision from superior officers and the DPO’s which gives the officers at the check points the impunity to act in manner that discredit the Nigeria Police. Mrs. Inoma-Abbey said some roads are narrowed in the evenings to curtail crime that peak at such times but regretted that such road blocks are used to inconvenience members of the public and urged them to report such check points to the police authority in the state.
It is hoped that in the days ahead, the police officers at check points will become more sensitive and responsive to the people who they serve.