Less than three weeks after the #EndSARS protests against police brutality and corruption, motorists plying the old Aba-Umuahia highway, have decried the activities of policemen who have mounted roadblocks to extort money from them.
From Itungwa to Umuafor, a distance of fewer than 3 kilometers, there are over 10 roadblocks along that stretch of the highway, mounted mainly by men of the Eastern Ngwa Police Division and the Federal Highway Police.
Investigations by our correspondent revealed that at each checkpoint, policemen were seen extorting money from the motorists, a finding that was also corroborated by some of the commercial motorists.
They alleged that soldiers also have their security posts at Itungwa and Obikabia junction where they engage small boys to collect money from motorists on their behalf.
A bus driver who plies the new Abia – Akwa Ibom road, Ike Chijioke, alleged that they risk trouble if they refuse to give money to the police and soldiers, whether your vehicle particulars are up to date or not.
In his words; “Policemen and soldiers have returned to their old ways of extortion of money from motorists.
“We thought that with the EndSARS protests, the issue of police intimidation would be a thing of the past, but we are mistaken.
“Even the soldiers are back with the small boys who collect money for them at various checkpoints.
“The amount collected depends on the size of the vehicle.
“The amount could be higher if the bus is overloaded with commodities.
“For the Federal Highway Police, you must park your vehicle and get to their patrol van where you must pay not less than N500 depending on your load.”
ther motorist alleged that they are made to pay at gunpoint as the Police always threaten to impound their vehicles if they fail to give ‘roger’.
The motorists called on the State Commissioner of Police, Mrs. Janet Agbede as well as the Area Command Area, Aba, ACP Kabiru Ibrahim, to call their men to order.
Efforts to speak with CP Agbede was unsuccessful as she failed to respond to messages and calls placed on her mobile number.
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But a military source in 14 Brigade, Army headquarters Ohafia who spoke to our correspondent anonymously because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the press said that the army headquarters and leadership have zero-tolerance for extortion, warning that any soldier caught extorting, dehumanizing, or exploiting the public would be dealt with in accordance with the operational guidelines of the security agency.