Senate to IGP: End police extortion, harassment of commuters


In response to concerns raised regarding the extortion, intimidation, and harassment of motorists and commuters by the police on public roads, the Senate has passed a resolution urging the Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, to take immediate action and instruct police personnel to cease these unlawful practices.

The motion, titled “Urgent Need to Halt Extortion, Intimidation and Harassment of Motorists and Commuters by the Police on public roads,” was presented by Senator Onyekachi Peter, a member of the All Progressives Congress representing Ebonyi State. The Senate, during its plenary session, unanimously adopted the motion, reflecting the collective concern of the legislators.

The resolution highlights the urgent necessity to address this issue and ensure the protection and well-being of motorists and commuters. Extortion, intimidation, and harassment undermine the trust and confidence of the public in law enforcement agencies, and such practices are detrimental to the overall security and welfare of citizens.

By urging the Inspector-General of Police to intervene, the Senate is emphasizing the importance of upholding the principles of justice, fairness, and respect for the rights of individuals. The resolution seeks to safeguard the rights of motorists and commuters, promote accountability within the police force, and restore public trust in law enforcement agencies.

It is expected that the Inspector-General of Police will take immediate action to address the concerns raised by the Senate, implementing measures to curb extortion, intimidation, and harassment on public roads. This collaborative effort between the legislative and executive branches of government aims to create a safer and more conducive environment for all road users in Nigeria.

During the lead debate, Senator Onyekachi Peter emphasized that one of the primary functions of police personnel is to ensure the free passage and movement of people on highways. He referred to Section 49, subsections 1 and 2 of the Police Act, 2020, which empower the police to conduct stop and search operations and detain individuals or vehicles if there are reasonable grounds for suspicion.

However, Senator Peter highlighted that some police personnel have taken advantage of their authority and engaged in extortion, intimidation, and harassment of motorists. He expressed concern about the continuous mistreatment that ordinary Nigerians face at the hands of these security agents, emphasizing the need for action to address the issue.

Senator Elisa Abbo supported the motion and noted that the problem of extortion on public roads extends beyond just the Nigerian police, affecting other uniformed security agencies as well. He stressed the urgent need for police reform and suggested the implementation of modern security measures such as the utilization of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras for monitoring and protecting Nigerians on the highways.

The statements made by the senators highlight the importance of addressing the issue of extortion, intimidation, and harassment by security personnel. They call for police reform and the adoption of modern security measures to ensure the safety and protection of motorists and commuters on Nigerian highways.

Senator David Jimkuta expressed strong condemnation of the behavior of some police personnel on highways, describing it as barbaric. He called for the establishment of a panel of inquiry to investigate a recent incident where a commuter was killed by police personnel on the highway. He emphasized the need for severe disciplinary measures against the responsible officer and urged the Senate not to allow the issue to be overlooked.

Senator Victor Umeh suggested that the focus should be on punishing officers involved in the dehumanization of commuters on the highways. He proposed the summary dismissal of the officers found responsible for such misconduct.

Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe expressed his concern about the constant dehumanization of Nigerians by police personnel at various checkpoints in the South-East region. He highlighted instances where pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and the sick were subjected to unnecessary hardship, such as being forced to walk long distances, even in adverse weather conditions.

Deputy President of the Senate, Barau Jubril, called for an investigation into the dehumanization of Nigerians on highways. The Senate further resolved to advocate for the training and retraining of police personnel to ensure civility in the discharge of their duties towards Nigerians. Additionally, they urged the Inspector General of Police to establish a panel to investigate the killing of a commuter and provide a report of the investigation to the Senate through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

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