The Nigeria Police Force has ordered the immediate removal of all roadblocks in various states across the country.
A statement from the spokesperson of the force, Moshood Jimoh, said the officers are to comply with the new directive with immediate effect.
The statement added that the instruction was given to allow free movement of businessmen and women, as well as easy transportation of goods and services.
“IGP Ibrahim Idris has ordered the dismantling of all roadblocks nationwide with immediate effect; particularly on the following routes, Lagos-Ibadan, Shagamu-Benin, Benin-Onitsha, Okene-Abuja, Kaduna-Kano, Katsina – Kano, Otukpo – Enugu, Enugu – Port Harcourt Express Ways. The directives became necessary to enable ease of doing business in Nigeria, safeguard, and guarantee free passage of goods and travellers throughout the country.
“To this end, no Police department, section, squad or unit should mount roadblock without the express permission of the Inspector General of Police.
“Consequently, Assistant Inspectors General of Police in charge of Zonal Commands, Commissioners of Police in charge of State Commands, Heads of Departments, must ensure that every patrol vehicle in their respective Formation carries a conspicuous and legible inscription of Patrol vehicle identification number, and dedicated emergency Phone numbers for ease of identification and report of distress by members of the public. The Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Border patrol of the Force is specifically directed to ensure compliance with this directive along the Border routes in the country except for the few approved points by the Federal Government,” the statement said.
The statement added that police officers on patrol must put on their uniforms to allow for proper viewing of their names and identification numbers.
“Furthermore, police personnel who involve in vehicular patrol on highways and major roads across the country must wear on their uniforms a bold name tag and service number.
“The Special X-Squad teams of the Force have been deployed throughout the country, they are under strict instructions to arrest, investigate and discipline any Police personnel violating this directive.
“The IGP has also directed the Special X-Squads to embark on removal of other forms of illegal blockage and obstructions on Highways and Roads, created by unlawful Revenue/Tax collectors, Road Transport Unions, Labour and Trade-related unions inhibiting vehicular movement and smooth passage of passengers and goods, and other road users across the country.”
It added that according to law, security operatives have no reason to mount a roadblock.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Taxes and Levies act, Laws of Federation of Nigeria 2004 section 2 (2) disallowed any person, including a Tax Authority from mounting a Roadblock in any part of the Federation for the purposes of collecting any Tax or Levy.
“While monitoring and ensuring full compliance with this directive by all the personnel of the Nigeria Police Force,the Force hereby advises the relevant State Governments, Local Government Councils, Boards of States Internal Revenue Service, and various Transport Unions, Labour and Traders Associations that it is against the law for any organization to create a blockage to restrict or restrain members of the public the free usage of Roads and Highways anywhere in the country.”
This is not the first time such directives will be given by the police. In most cases, after a period of adherence to the order, police checkpoints usually return.
The police have been accused in the past of using such blockades to extort money from motorists.
The police had in April directed the removal of illegal roadblocks to prevent the misuse of such roadblocks by hoodlums.
On the flipside, many have also kicked against such directives as cases of kidnapping on Nigerian roads have increased in recent times especially in some of the roads mentioned.
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