From Magnus Eze, Enugu
Two major Igbo socio-political organisations, Igbo National Stakeholders Assembly (INSA) and Igbo Amaka Collectives (IAC) have alleged siege on travellers going for Christmas on the Lagos-Ore-Benin Expressway leading to the South Eastern and South South parts of the country.
Worried by the hardships, suffering, and humiliation suffered by travellers due to multiple roadblocks and checkpoints mounted by security agencies on the road leading from South West to their region and also within the region, some influential Igbo groups have threatened to drag the Federal Government to court, the International Human Rights Commission and other global bodies.
They claimed multiplicity of roadblocks and checkpoints mounted with logs of wood, sand bags, solid concrete and all sorts of materials especially on the Sagamu-Benin-Onitsha Expressway were extortionist centres.
They called on the Federal Government to dislodge the security agencies, which have turned the road to haven for intimidation and extortion of motorists as people are forced to part with certain amount of money thereby causing unnecessary traffic on the road.
President of INSA, Chief John Uche, lamented that it was obvious the security agents were not there to protect motorists as according to him, “hardly a motorist passes a kilometer without check points where they collect between N500 for private and commercial vehicles each and N1,000 from each truck passing through the roads daily.”
He explained that due to their nefarious activities, the journey from Lagos to the Eastern part of the country, which usually lasted between five to six hours, was now between 12 and 18 hours this season.
Secretary General of Igbo Amaka Collectives, Dr. Nicholas Uwakwe wondered why security men flooded the route to South East, which was obviously peaceful while the north with high rate of insecurity occasioned by armed banditry, kidnapping and other violent crimes, had few presence of security men.