Rights Group Protests Return of Road Blocks in Onitsha

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David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka

A human rights group, Campaign for Democracy (CD) has decried the return of roadblocks in the commercial city of Onitsha.

The group said it was particularly worried about indiscriminate setting of road blocks in the city, saying that it was slowing down businesses in the city.

The Chairman of the CD in the South East zone, Uzor A Uzor, who spoke to THISDAY gave the Inspector General Police, Idris Ibrahim three days, within which to dismantle the road blocks.

Uzor said the primary aim of the roadblocks was to extort from innocent road users, insisting that his organisation would not accept such for struggling traders.

“We want to say that after this 3-day ultimatum, we will embark on a series of protests to register our position on the matter,” Uzor added.

A social critic, Prince Ezenwa noted that travelling from Onitsha to Oba, a distance of not more than 15 kilometres, one could see not less than 11 road blocks. He alleged that it might be a plan to reintroduce illegal toll collection in the south east geo-political zone.

“We intend to write to the IGP because they (Police) cause a lot of problems to road users. They are flouting the IGP’s order that all road blocks be dismantled.

“The gubernatorial election, which led to the setting up of road blocks has come and gone with the state not experiencing any violent crimes to warrant these problems,” Ezenwa said.

The Chairman Ogirisi Igbo Foundation, Dr Linus Uche, said it was a calculated attempt to extort road users during the yuletide.

He added that police collect a lot of money from motorists and other road users, ranging from N100 to N500, and this end up in private pockets.