Ohanaeze petitions Buhari over increasing checkpoints in South-East
President-general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo has petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari over the increasing number of security checkpoints in the South-East geo-political zone.
The letter which was made available to reporters in Enugu on Tuesday reads in parts:
“Evidence available to us indicates an unusual number of military, paramilitary and police checkpoints in all routes leading into and within Igbo land.
“To be precise, our report presents the following gory picture: there are 60 (sixty) checkpoints between Lagos and Onitsha (a major route for Igbo traders) thus: Lagos to Ore = 24 checkpoints
Ore to Benin = 23 checkpoints
Benin to Onitsha =13 checkpoints. Just in Enugu State alone, the checkpoints are 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 misdemeanour.
“It is hoped that you will use your good offices to order officers responsible for this embarrassment to dismantle these “toll gates”.
Modern security is all about information gathering, digital monitoring and preventive mechanisms, not about Gestapo-like checkpoints.
” It’s 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 are nowhere to be seen.
“Your Excellency, measures of this nature and the apparent indifference of the Federal Government continue to make our people feel discriminated against in our national polity.
” It is for this reason that I plead with you to use your good offices to bring to an end this discrimination, intimidation 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.