South East: Reps to investigate extortion of travellers by police

… ask police, Army to stop Incessant dehumanization, harassment of travelers

The House of Representatives on Tuesday resolved to set up an Adhoc Committee to investigate the alleged forceful collection of N500,000.00 by some police officers on 8 July 2023 from travellers along Owerri-Onitsha express road using Moniepoint POS.

The House also urged the Inspector General (IG) of Police to identify, discipline and call to order police officers perpetuating inhuman and degrading treatments on road travellers along the South East Geopolitical Zone.

The House further urged the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) to call on the military personnel manning roadblocks within the South East Geopolitical Zone to carry out their duties professionally and stop the incessant harassment of law-abiding citizenry in the South East.

The resolutions followed a motion moved by Hon Attorney Nwogu during plenary in Abuja.

Moving the motion, Nwogu noted that the reports and growing instances of dehumanization, harassment, and extortion of citizens in the Southeast geopolitical zone by security agencies estimated to be in billions of Naira.

He said that the incessant and continued dehumanization and harassment of road travellers in the Southeast Geopolitical zone of Nigeria by security agents, especially by some Police officers and Army personnel who have perfected the acts of extorting money forcefully from road travellers embarking on daily journey to earn their living.

The lawmaker expressed worries that the weapons given to the security agents to protect lives and property are now been used by some unscrupulous security agents to harass and dehumanize law-abiding travellers within the Southeast/South Geopolitical zone.

“Alarmed At the brazen manner in which travellers within the Southeast are forcefully moved out from heir travelling cars/vehicles by security agents and are ordered to walk some kilometres with their hands raised above their heads thus dehumanizing and portraying them as common criminals or prisoners creating a feeling of discontentment, social unrest and creating the feeling of a conquered territory.

“Aware that while a vast majority of the security personnel diligently professionally perform their duties, there have been regrettable cases of misconduct, abuse of power, and extortion perpetrated by a few individuals within these agencies, specifically, on 8 July 2023 some unscrupulous Police officers waylay and detained some travellers engage in legitimate business along Owerri-Onitsha express road and forcefully collect the sum of N500, 000.00 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira) from the travellers.

“Concerned at the inability of some security personnel entrusted with the protection of lives and property to conduct themselves professionally in carrying out checks on road travellers except to subject and subjugate them to inhuman treatment thus causing disenchantment between the citizenry and the security agents this has further worsened the needed collaborative effort needed to checkmate crime and criminality within the South East Geopolitical zone.

“Worried that regularly, travellers within South East are forced to open their phones and laptops and in some instances are forced to part with their hard-earned money and their belongings.

He therefore called for the need to address these acts of dehumanization, harassment and extortion of road travellers within the Southeast geopolitical zone and to restore public confidence of citizens in the security agents.

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