By Okechukwu Keshi Ukegbu
Amid the end of SARS and police brutality protests raging across the country,Foundation for Environmental Rights, Advocacy and Development (FENRAD) has demanded an end to all forms of extortion by security agents especially in the South East zone.
The group said that the proliferation of check points in the zone with particular reference to Abia State by both the police and army has subjected road users, especially motorists to untold hardship.
A statement endorsed by the group’s Executive Director, Comrade Nnanna Nelson Nwafor reads:” The current agitations to end the impunity by the recently disbanded police unit, Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) is long over due.
“Our position is that since we have have risen to the occasion to address abuses meted on Nigerians by security agents, we believe it should be holistic.
“FENRAD is worried over the operations of our security agents, and this is the high extortion of Nigerians induced by our security agents on our highways”.
FENRAD further explained that these extortions are not only perpetrated by the police but soldiers who have abandoned their primary responsibility of defending the nation against external aggression but have converted our major highways to toll collection points.
According to the group, the soldiers mount young men who serve as collection agents few meters from their check points to collect toll for them.
“On our Spot Assessment investigation in some checkpoints in Abia state which include Owerrinta, Umuikaa, Ntigha. and Akara checkpoints we discovered high extortion of road users by security agents manning these checkpoints”.
The group explained that the extortion activities result to traffic challenges as these security agents harrass and intimate road users on refusal to part with some toll.
FENRAD is demanding that the hierarchies of these security agencies end this ugly trend lest it snowballs to another round of protests tagged “# EndExtortionsbysecurityagencies#
The group is also worries that the extortion is extended to tricycle operators in Aba by policemen, adding that if all entreaties to end this ugly trend fails, it will not hesitate to deploy legal actions to address it.