A senator, Mao Ohabunwa (PDP, Abia North) has complained about the proliferation of armed police and army road blocks along the Enugu-Port-Hacourt expressway, Owerri-Onitsha expressway and Aba-Onitsha-Enugu expressway.
Mr Ohabunwa raised a point of order on the matter at the Senate plenary on Thursday. He explained that the road blocks have caused hardship in transportation and negatively affected economic activities in the region.
Coming under order 42 and 52, he said while there have been serious breaches of security of lives and properties of citizens arising from the war against terrorism in the North-Eastern part of the country, the same case cannot be made for the heavy presence of security operatives on South-east roads.
He expressed concern that the number of road blocks with armed police and army personnel suddenly increased and has become intimidating. He said the affected roads include the Enugu-Port-Harcourt expressway, the Enugu-Onitsha expressway and the Enugu-Aba expressway – “all of which have more that 50 road blocks heavily manned by the police and army and proliferated at close and intermediate junctures.”
“This high proliferation of road blocks and armed police and army presence in an otherwise peaceful environment, is not only costly, unnecessary and failing to balance the matters of national security and citizens’ well being but it is also extensively obstructive to the free movement of goods and people.
“It is increasing the citizens’ hardship on the roads and their travel time while proliferating, extortion and corruption on the roads generally affect the economy of citizens in the South-east region and the nation very negatively,” he said.
The Senate, thereafter, urged the Nigerian Police and the Nigerian Army to quickly take action to reduce or dismantle some of the road blocks.
It also directed the Senate committees on police and army to take a tour of the South-eastern express road to investigate the matter and report back to the senate.
The Senate resolved to “urge the Nigerian Police and Army to always seek to balance the imperatives of national security and the economic interest of citizens in the monitoring of our environment especially where there are no evident security breaches.”