The President General of the Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief John Nnia Nwodo has petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari and the Inspector General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu over multiple checkpoints by Police, military and other paramilitary agencies in all routes leading into and within Igbo land.
Nwodo in the petition sighted by our correspondent stated that evidence available to the group indicated an unusual number of military, paramilitary and police checkpoints in all routes leading into and within Igbo land.
While noting that there were sixty (60) checkpoints between Lagos and Onitsha which he said was a major route for Igbo traders, he observed that there were 24 checkpoint from Lagos to Ore, 23 checkpoints from Ore to Benin and 13 checkpoints from Benin to Onitsha even as he added that in Enugu alone, the checkpoints were uncountable.
“The interpretation of Igbos is that these checkpoints which in the main concern themselves with extorting money from numerous Igbos passing through them are mere toll gates.
“The nonchalant attitude of the Federal Government and heads of security agencies give the impression that the erection of these “toll gates” is deliberate, extortionist and intended to subdue the will of the people.
“In some instances, these security agents attend these “toll gates” with POS (Point of Sale) machines which they use to force travellers who have no cash but possess debit cards to forcibly transfer cash to their private accounts.
“Gladly, one police officer was reported to have been arrested by the Inspector General in respect of this practice recently.
As our people prepare to return home for the Christmas, it has become necessary to bring to your attention to this embarrassing misdemeanor.
“It is hoped that you will use your good offices to order officers responsible for this embarrassment to dismantle these “toll gates”, he said.
He pointed out that modern security was all about information gathering, digital monitoring and preventive mechanisms and not about gestapo-like checkpoints.
The President General maintained that it was noteworthy that in all other routes leading out of Igbo land to other parts of Nigeria, checkpoints of the nature that characterize the routes into Igbo land were nowhere to be seen stating that measures of this nature and the apparent indifference of the Federal Government continued to make Igbo people feel discriminated against in the national polity.
“It is for this reason that I plead with you to use your good offices to bring to an end this discriminating, intimidating and extortionist practices of our security agents on all routes leading into and within Igbo land. We have continued on our part to appeal to our young men and women to restrain their anger and outrage in order to ensure that they do not resort to self defence.
“While I anticipate your prompt and compassionate reactions to this letter, accept, Your Excellency, my very warm wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year”, he concluded.
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