By Levinus Nwabughiogu
Following the fatal auto accident that reportedly claimed the lives of over 20 persons on Sunday, November 28, 2021 at Ihiala, Anambra State, the House of Representatives has asked the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Usman Baba Alkali to immediately remove all illegal checkpoints across the country.
The resolution was reached after considering a motion by the member representing Ihiala federal constituency of the State, Hon. Ifeanyi Momah at Wednesday plenary.
The House also mandated the IGP to direct the commissioner of Police in Anambra State to review the location of the police check point in Ihiala with a view to forestalling further occurrence of such disaster especially during the festive season
Titled “Need to Investigate Loss of so Many Lives Along the Onitsha-Owerri Express Road Within Ihiala Federal Constituency”, the motion also urged the military to relocate their checkpoints in the state to the border towns.
Presenting the motion, Momah noted that for over 2 years, military and Police check points in lhiala Onitsha-Owerri Express Road have been operational to quell insecurity in the area.
He, however, said that road users have since been subjected to devastating, degrading and inhuman treatment occasioned by the operation of the military and Police checkpoints in that area.
He said: “Being a major express road, the negative impact of this military checkpoint has been grave on the community as well as all the road users.
“In this menace, no one is spared, all suffer under the weight of the oppression. Men, women, children are forced to alight from their cars and raise their hands and pass through the checkpoint. Nursing and pregnant women are also not-spared; in fact, nursing mothers are made to carry their babies up high as they walk across the checkpoint, sometimes being forced to walk for over 1km.
“Very recently, a pregnant woman on a bike was whipped thoroughly at the military checkpoint. Traditional rulers are also stopped and searched in an embarrassing manner including ransacking of their traditional attire.
“The military and police checkpoints are located in the middle of the busiest road in the entire local government area, opposite Abbot Boys Secondary School Ihiala and opposite Ihiala Divisional Police headquarters both located within the same axis, an area that ought not to be associated with a military checkpoint. As is popular knowledge, military checkpoints are to be stationed at border communities.
“This military checkpoint ought to be mounted at Amorka community, which is the border between lhiala Local Government and Imo State and not its current location which is a commercial hub crammed with markets, businesses, schools, etc.
“The town leaders have also asked that the checkpoint be relocated because of these hazards mentioned above in order to mitigate the calamitous consequences of the current situation. Yet, this dreadful situation persists with no glimmer of hope of improvement.”
The lawmaker recalled that on Saturday, the 30th day of May 2020, a police makeshift road blockage was the cause of a fatal accident at Ihiala which led to the death of a trailer driver and his conductor as well as over 10 bus passengers.
“On Thursday the 4th day of November 2021 at about 15:50hours, an accident involving three vehicles on the Onitsha — Owerri Ihiala Road on Sunday, claimed the lives of three (3) children and six (6) adults according to the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) as the driver upon sighting the Police checkpoint, tried to apply brake but couldn’t, thus resulting in the fatal accident (according to eye witness).
“Most recently, on Saturday, the 28th day of November 2021, a trailer carrying a container load of goods ran over twenty (20) public road users who died on the spot”, Momah said.
Briefing Journalists after the plenary, Momah however said he was not aversed to the mounting of checkpoints but not in a manner that will jeopardize the wellbeing of the people.
Adopting the motion after securing support of the majority of its members, the House mandated its committee on police affairs and legislative compliance to ensure compliance to the resolution.