HomeFeaturesNUJ Decries Humiliation Of Commuters At Checkpoints In S’East

NUJ Decries Humiliation Of Commuters At Checkpoints In S’East

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The Abia State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), has expressed worry over the continued humiliation of passengers at military checkpoints across South East geo-political zone.

NUJ in a communique after its monthly congress in Umuahia, strongly spoke against the practice, and demanded its immediate stoppage, saying it is not a good public image for the military.

Some National Assembly members including Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, Hon. Obi Aguocha and Hon. Amobi Ogah, had variously called for an end to the practice but it has continued with reckless abandon.

NUJ in the 12-point communique jointly signed by the Chairman of the Council, Comrade Victor Ndukwe; the Secretary, Adaeze Ralph-Igbokwe; and Chairman of Communique-Drafting Committee, Steve Oko; other members -Christian Emezue and Chinyere Iheanacho-Egbulem, queried the rationale behind forcing passengers to disembark at military check-points and trek across even without any search on their vehicles.

It read in part: ‘Congress observes with perplexity, and condemns in very strong terms, the on-going humiliation, and dehumanization of commuters at some military check-points on the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway especially at the NNPC Mega Filling Station junction, Umuahia; Abia State University, Uturu (ABSU) junction; Onuaku Uturu near the border with Ebonyi State; among others.

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‘Congress queries the rationale behind ordering passengers to disembark at the checkpoint and trek across, even when no checks are conducted on their vehicles. It, therefore, calls on the State Government to prevail on the military authorities to review the practice which is generating public condemnation.’

NUJ also frowned at the extortionist tendencies of some security operatives at some of the checkpoints while commending the Police for the observed decline in extortion by some cops on roadblocks.

Recall that some police personnel at a roadblock in front of the State Police Headquarters, Bende Road Umuahia, were brazenly extorting motorists despite public outcry until the arrival of the current Commissioner of Police, Kenechukwu Onwuemelie, who ordered them out of the road.

‘Congress also expresses worry over the disturbing rate of extortion at military checkpoints at various roads in parts of the state and calls on the military hierarchy to halt such corrupt tendencies. Meanwhile, Congress commends the Police authorities on the decline in extortion of motorists by its personnel on the roads and calls for total eradication of the unwholesome act’.

NUJ further called for the immediate removal of sandbags and other objects at roadblocks ‘long abandoned by security agents across the state, particularly within the Ehimiri Housing Estate, Umuahia, which now constitute a serious risk to road users.’

Meanwhile, NUJ acknowledged efforts of the Abia State Government and security agencies in the fight against insecurity in the state.

It however, noted with concern, “the rising cases of robbery and burglary, especially within Umuahia metropolis, and urges security agencies to rise to the occasion; just as it calls for improved security across the state ahead of the Yuletide.”

NUJ expressed support for the move by the Abia State Government to tackle insecurity around the Regional Cattle Market, and Umunneochi axis, cautioning fifth columnists against ethnicising the move.

It further lauded the Government for demarcating the Umuwaya Road leading to the ever-busy Isigate city center as part of efforts to allow for free flow of traffic around the area.

It, however, noted with detest, “the activities of tricycle operators who still cause unnecessary obstruction around the area, and calls on Government to ensure that the tricycle operators move into approved parks and Isigate given the expected facelift it deserves.”

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