Motorists decry police extortion in Calabar

MOTORIST and residents of Calabar metropolis have decried the high level of extortion by the police and other agencies of government in the guise of vehicle inspection.

Speaking in separate interviews with the Nigeria Tribune in Calabar  metropolis, respondents commended the state governor, Professor Ben Ayade, for beefing up security in the state, but decried the activities of some policemen and women, especially traffic wardens and operatives of Vehicle Inspection Officers ( VIO ) and Commercial Transport Regulatory Agency (CTRA), among others, who use it as an avenue to extort money from motorists.

Mrs Joy Ekanem, who lamented the activities of some policemen and women who milled around traffic lights in the state capital, said as soon as the light stopped motorists, policemen and women appeared from nowhere demanding to see driver’s licence, vehicle particulars, certificate of road worthiness and even spare tyres.

She said in the course of this, they caused traffic jams and even struggled for the vehicle steering and ignition key with the driver, if he or she refused to offer them bribe.

She implored the state Commissioner of Police and the Divisional Police Officers of the various police stations in Calabar, as well as the state government to call operatives of VIO, CTRA and others to order before the situation got out of hand.

Another motorist, Mr Joseph Essien, said some unscrupulous policemen and even women had seen the security measures put in place by the state governor as a licence to extort money from motorists.

“These policemen and women now appear in small streets and in twos or threes, stop vehicles, demand for every type of document, inspect tyres and even fire extinguishers, and if a motorist is deemed to have defaulted in any way, they demand for gratification before such motorist is left off the hook. This is greatly painting the image of the police in black”, Essien stated.

Others who spoke called on the authorities to channel the services of these policemen and women to more useful areas that would ensure the protection of lives and properties.