By GODFREY BIVBERE
Few weeks after the retirement of the immediate past Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, road blocks along the Lagos Badagry Expressway have returned with the Badagry – Seme end having about 11 and nine police and Customs checkpoints respectively.
Following the ban on all police road blocks across the country by Abubakar, the shameful activities of such road blocks along the major international routes was eliminated.
Shortly after the appointment of the new police boss, Suleiman Abba, the road blocks have gradually crept back to the routes resulting in police officers insisting on performing the duties of the Customs.
Even those by the Customs which the Service headquarters have limited to just three, have steadily grown to seven between Seme and Badagry in the last three weeks. Investigation revealed that the Customs checkpoints are mounted by officers from Seme Border Command and the Federal Operations Unit, FOU. With the former arrangement, both units are surposed to be present at the three approved checkpoints to avoid duplication.
Apart from the 11 police, Seven Customs checkpoints counted by our Correspondent between Badagry and Seme, others are gradually springing up in Agbara and Badagry.
Each police checkpoint between Seme and Badagry collects a toll ranging from N50 to N200 from each commercial vehicle taking the route while anyone found with as litlle as a bag of rich is made to part with between N500 and N1.000.
The Customs Authority had in the past said that there are only three approved checkpoints by the Customs authority along the route which, according to him, are those in Gbagi, Agbara and Aradagun.
Already, other security agencies are beginning to return to the route to set up their owe checkpoint, some of which are the Nigerian Army team that comes out every evening just by the one by the customs before Iyanu-ibiyi on the way from Badagry, Local Council just after Seme and several others by officials of the Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS.
Similarly, officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) occasional show up at Agbara end of the Customs checkpoint to mount theirs.
So endemic was the practice then that even a Presidential directive by former President Olusegun Obasanjo could not stop the illegal checkpoints as his directive to dismantle the road blocks was flagrantly disregarded few months later.
Before the dismantling of these road blocks security agencies present along the route are the Quarantine that has two, Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) two, Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), not permanent and National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) which also has two road blocks.