End police harassment, extortion of motorists, Senate urges IG Egbetokun

The Senate, on Tuesday, urged the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kayode Egbetokun to direct its personnel to stop extortion, intimidation and harassment of motorists and commuters on highways.

The senate resolution was sequel to adoption of a motion at plenary on “urgent need to halt extortion, intimidation and harassment of motorists and commuters by the police on public roads.”

The motion was sponsored by Senator Onyekachi Peter (APC-Ebonyi).

Mr Peter, in his lead debate, said one of the primary functions of the police was to, among other things, facilitate free passage and movement on highways.

According to him, Section 49, subsection one of the Police Act 2020, empowers the police to conduct stop and search operations, and Subsection 2 empowers them to search and detain any person or vehicle where reasonable grounds for suspicion exist.

However, the police personnel who had the primary duty to facilitate free passage and movement of commuters and motorists on public roads had taken undue advantage by resorting to extortion, intimidation and harassment of motorists.

He said the continuous intimidation, harassment and torture that ordinary Nigerians experienced at the hands of those security agents called for action.

Senator Elisa Abbo (APC-Adamawa) hinted further that the issues of extortion of commuters on public roads were not only limited to personnel of Nigerian police but other security agencies in uniform.

He called for urgent reform of the police with improved security measures, such as utilisation of modern monitoring security gadgets like close circuit television and cameras, to protect Nigerians on the highways.

Sen. David Jimkuta (APC -Taraba) said the operation of some police personnel on the highways was barbaric in nature.

He, therefore, called for the composition of a panel of enquiry on the recent killing of a commuter by police personnel on the highway, with severe disciplinary measures for the culprit.

He urged the Senate not to allow the issue to be swept under the carpet.

Sen. Victor Umeh (LP- Anambra) said there was need to focus more on punishment of officers involved in dehumanisation of commuters on the highways, while suggesting the summary dismissal of the officers involved.

Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe (LP- Abia) decried the constant dehumanisation of Nigerians by police personnel at the various checkpoints in the South-East.

He said Nigerians, including pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and the sick, among other vulnerable persons, were often subjected to come down and walk a distance even in the rain by police personnel.

Deputy President of the Senate, Barau Jubril, called for investigation into the dehumanisation of Nigerians on the highways.

The Senate, in its further resolution, called for the training and retraining of police personnel to ensure civility in the discharge of their functions to Nigerians.

It also urged the IGP to set up a panel to investigate the barbaric killing of a commuter and forward a report of investigation to the senate through the secretary to the government of the federation.