From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The House of Representatives has charged the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba to remove all police and military checkpoints along various roads across the country.
This is as the House mourned victims of last Sunday ghastly accident in Anambra, allegedly caused by a police checkpoint.
The Green chamber also mandated its Committee on Works to probe the status of various road concessions and report back to it within two weeks for further legislative actions.
This followed the adoption of a motion by Ifeanyi Momah “on the need to investigate loss of many lives along the Onitsha-Owerri express road within Ihiala Federal constituency,” at Wednesday
Momah, in his motion, notes that for over 2 years, there have bee. military and police check points along the lhiala-Onitsha-Owerri express road, in Anambra State, as a result of insecurity in the area.
Nevertheless, the lawmaker added that
road users in the area are often subjected to degrading and inhumane treatment occasioned by the security personnel manning the checkpoints.
According to him, commuters, including children are usually forced to to alight from their cars and raise their hands to pass through the checkpoint.
Momah explained that on November 4,
an accident involving three vehicles on the Onitsha-Owerri Ihiala road, claimed the lives of three children and six adults, as the driver upon sighting the police checkpoint, tried to apply brake but could not thus resulting in the fatal accident.
He added that on November 28, a trailer carrying a container load of goods ran over twenty public road users who died on the spot.
The lawmaker stated that ” military and police checkpoints are located in the middie of the busiest road in the entire local government area, opposite Abbot Boys Secondary School Ihiala and opposite ihiala Divisional Police headquarters both located within the same axis, an area that ought not to be associated with a military checkpoint.
“As is popular knowledge, military checkpoints are to be stationed at border communities. Thus, this military checkpoint ought to be mounted at Amorka community, which is the border between lhiala Local Government and Imo state and not its current location, which is a commercial hub crammed with markets, businesses, schools, etc”.
He added that ” nursing and pregnant women are also. not-spared; infact, nursing mothers are made to carry their babies up high as they walk across the checkpoint, sometimes being forced to walk for over 1km.
” Very recently, a pregnant woman on a bike was whipped thoroughly at the military checkpoint. Traditional rulers are also stopped and searched in an embarrassing manner including ransacking of their traditional attire.”
However, Yusuf Gagdi, in his contribution, noted that while that activities of security agencies must be checkmated, citizens must be cautioned not to take laws in their own hands, when they feel aggrieved by the actions of security personnel.
“Activities of security agencies must be checkmated, they shouldn’t take maintenance of laws and order for granted, but the citizens of this country whose security presence is for their own good, should equally not take that for granted to even start putting themselves together in the name of attacking police formations.
“We must be careful, the motion is good, I support it but the citizens too must be cautioned not to take laws in their own hands,” Gagdi stated.