In the last 50 months, Nigerians living in the South-East and the South-South geopolitical zones of the country had been made to part with an estimated N306 billion in more than 6, 900 military and police roadblocks scattered across the two regions.
This is contained in a recent Special Research Report presented by a civil society organization, Intersociety following a field survey and research which covered eleven states of Edo, Delta, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Bayelsa, Anambra, Abia, Enugu, Ebonyi and Imo for a period spanning 50 months – August 2015 to October 2019.
Lead researcher in the report–Mr. Emeka Umeagbalasi, the Board Chairman of Intersociety, a trained criminologist and graduate of Security Studies; with other research assistants led by Comrade Samuel Kamanyaoku in the report co-signed by Chidimma Udegbunam, Head of Campaign & Publicity, Chinwe Umeche, Head of Democracy & Good Governance, Obianuju Igboeli, Head of Civil Liberties & Rule of Law and Ndidiamaka Bernard, Head of Int’l Justice & Human Rights said citizens of the regions literally paid out the staggering sum at gunpoint to military and police personnel at the estimated 600 military and 6, 300 police roadblocks across the South-East and the South-South geopolitical zones.
While the 6,300 police roadblocks illicitly collected N250 billion from the said regions, the 600 military roadblocks bagged N56 billion.
The report further showed that an average of N6.4 billion was illicitly collected monthly and N76 billion yearly in the past four years and two months.
The N250 billion illicitly collected by the police, the report said, constituted over 80% of the annual budget of the Nigeria Police Force of N300 billion while the annual take of N76 billion amounted to over 20% of the said annual budget.
The report noted that no fewer than 34,000 armed personnel of the Nigerian Army, Navy, Air Force and Nigeria Police Force stationed on the roads and other public arenas in the two regions were involved in the said rip-off, thus suggesting that the incessant military build-up and police siege in the two regions were mere shakedowns after all.
On the motive behind the report, the document read in part: “The report is also in response to the proposed military operations in Eastern Nigeria, code named: “Operation Python Dance IV” and “Operation Crocodile Smile IV”, scheduled for 1st November to Christmas Eve of December 2019 as well as the planned flooding of the two regions particularly the Southeast with alleged greater number of ‘Federal Road Tollgates.’
This is even as it is found that 70% of all Federal Roads in Eastern Nigeria are a death trap. “Today, it has spread like wild fire and particularly caught the operational attention of the Nigerian Military including the Army, Navy and Air Force and Paramilitaries like Federal Road Safety Corps, Immigration, and Nigerian Security & Civil Defense Corps.
“Use of ‘roadblock’ in the security of a country or for purposes of safety of lives and properties is very archaic and outdated. As a matter of fact, it is an attribute of a failed state or system.”