Senate Wants End To Extortion, Harassment Of Commuters
The Senate, on Tuesday, urged the acting Inspector-General of Police, Ag. IGP Kayode Egbetokun, to direct its personnel to stop forthwith, extortion, intimidation, and harassment of motorists and commuters on highways.
The Senate resolution was a sequel to the adoption of a motion at the plenary on “Urgent Need to Halt Extortion, Intimidation, and Harassment of Motorists and Commuters by the Police on public roads.”
The motion was sponsored by Sen. Onyekachi Peter (APC-Ebonyi).
Peter in his lead debate said one of the primary functions of the police personnel was to; among other things, facilitate the free passage and movement on highways.
According to him, Section 49 sub-section one of the Police Act, 2020, empowers the police to conduct stop and search operations.
He said subsection two empowered them to search and detain any person or vehicle where the reasonable ground for suspicion existed.
He said the police personnel who had the primary duty to facilitate free passage and movement of commuters and motorists on public roads had taken undue advantage by resorting to extortion, intimidation, and harassment of motorists.
He said the continuous intimidation, harassment, and torture that ordinary Nigerians experienced in the hands of those security agents called for action.
Sen. Elisa Abbo (APC-Adamawa) said the issues of extortion of commuters on public roads were not only limited to personnel of Nigerian police but other security agencies in uniform.
He said there was an urgent need for the police to reform itself.
He added that this was by coming out with modern security measures via utilization of modern monitoring security cadets like Close Circuit Television, cameras to police and to protect Nigerians on the highways.
Sen. David Jimkuta (APC -Taraba) said the operation of some police personnel on the highways was barbaric in nature.
He, therefore, called for the composition of a panel of inquiry on the recent killing of a commuter by police personnel on the highway, with severe disciplinary measures for the culprit.
He urged the Senate not to allow the issue to be swept under the carpet.
Sen.Victor Umeh (LP- Anambra) said there was the need to focus more on the punishment of officers involved in the dehumanization of commuters on the highways while suggesting the summary dismissal of the officers involved.
Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe (LP- Abia) decried the constant dehumanization of Nigerians by police personnel at the various checkpoints in the South -East.
He said Nigerians including pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and the sick, among other vulnerable persons, were often subjected to come down and walk a distance even in the rain by police personnel.
Deputy President of the Senate, Barau Jubril called for an investigation into the dehumanization of Nigerians on the highways.
Senate in its further resolution called for the training and retraining of police personnel to ensure civility in the discharge of their functions to Nigerians.
It also urged the Inector-General of Police to set up a panel to investigate the barbaric killing of a commuter and forward a report of the investigation to the Senate via Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
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