By Levinus Nwabughiogu
House of representative yesterday frowned at the multiple makeshift roadblocks and security checkpoints on highways leading to and within the south-east geopolitical zone, urging the federal government to prevail on the Police and other security agencies to remove them.
The House said that the roadblocks have impeded the free flow of traffic, untold pains and hardship to motorists and other road users travelling to the region.
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The resolution came on the heels of a motion titled “Resolution on Multiple Security Checkpoints on Roads Leading to and Within the South East Region”, moved under matters of urgent public importance by Hon. Obinna Chidioka, member representing ldemili North and South Federal Constituency of Anambra State at Thursday plenary.
Chidioka while moving the motion noted that various security agencies, including Nigerian Police Force, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Customs Service, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency and Federal Road Safety Corps, have over the years maintained multiple makeshift roadblocks/security checkpoints with used tires, timber and metal barricades on roads and highways leading to and within the south-east region.
He said that the practice has resulted in avoidable traffic buildup on the roads and untold hardship to motorists and other road users, especially during festive periods.
He submitted that in most cases the multiple makeshift roadblocks/security checkpoints were only two or three kilometres apart, clearly visible from one to the other.
The lawmaker further stated that vehicles were routinely subjected to multiple searches at those checkpoints, while motorists were required to present their vehicles registration papers and their driver’s licenses examination one after the other.
He said: “The House is concerned that these multiple makeshift roadblocks/security checkpoints, coupled with the terrible condition of roads leading to and within the south-east region, are causing unnecessary traffic buildup with untold hardship on road users, including the sick and elderly ones, requiring emergency medical attention or evacuation;
“Also concerned that these makeshift roadblocks/security checkpoints with used tires, timber and metal barricades are often left on the roads and highways when not in use, which creates hazards for unsuspecting motorists, especially at night, and that in some cases are reportedly used by armed robbers who rob and terrorize road users at odd hours;
“Further concerned that issues of the hardship suffered by motorists and other road users as a result of multiple makeshift security checkpoints on the roads leading to and within the south-east region have been widely published in both the print and electronic news media, as well brought to the attention of the appropriate authorities, by the civil society organizations and other respected leaders of thoughts from the South East and that the authorities have neglected to address these issues;
“Concerned that with the Christmas and New Year holidays fast approaching. when south easterners within and outside Nigeria, usually travel home to celebrate with their families, friends and loved ones, traffic buildup on the roads leading to and from the south-east will increase exponentially with increased hardship on motorists and other road users, as has been the case in recent years, when some motorists and road users were in traffic for more than 24 hours;
“Determined to address the plight of motorists and other road users in the south-east region who suffer daily from the avoidable and clearly unnecessary multiple makeshift roadblocks/security checkpoints on the roads leading to and from the south-east region, which has caused untold hardship to all and save lives”.
Adopting the motion, the House urged the security agencies to collaborate with one another in the discharge of their responsibilities and avoid dissipation of resources as exemplified by the multiple roadblocks/security checkpoints on the roads within the area.
It also directed the Federal Ministry of Works and Power and the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency, FERMA to remove all abandoned makeshift roadblocks/security checkpoints and debris from the roads and highways leading to and within the south-east region to facilitate the free flow of traffic on these roads.