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The Senate wants to put an end to police extortion and commuter harassment

The Senate wants to put an end to police extortion and commuter harassment
The Senate wants to put an end to police extortion and commuter harassment

On Tuesday, the Senate urged the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Kayode Egbetokun, to direct his officers to immediately stop extortion, intimidation, and harassment of motorists and commuters on highways.

The senate resolution came after the plenary adopted a motion on “Urgent Need to Halt Extortion, Intimidation, and Harassment of Motorists and Commuters by Police on Public Roads.”

Sen. Onyekachi Peter sponsored the motion (APC-Ebonyi).

In his opening debate, Peter stated that one of the primary functions of police officers was to facilitate free passage and movement on highways.

He claims that Section 49 sub-section one of the Police Act of 2020 authorises police to conduct stop and search operations.

He stated that subsection two empowered them to search and detain any person or vehicle if they had a reasonable suspicion.

He claimed that police officers, who had the primary responsibility of facilitating free passage and movement of commuters and motorists on public roads, had abused their position by resorting to extortion, intimidation, and harassment of motorists.

He stated that the ongoing intimidation, harassment, and torture of ordinary Nigerians at the hands of those security agents demanded action.

Sen. Elisa Abbo (APC-Adamawa) stated that extortion of commuters on public roads was not limited to Nigerian police officers but also to other security agencies in uniform.

He stated that the police force needed to reform immediately.

He went on to say that this was accomplished by implementing modern security measures such as Close Circuit Television and cameras to police and protect Nigerians on the highways.

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Sen. David Jimkuta (APC-Taraba) described the actions of some police officers on the highways as barbaric.

As a result, he has called for the formation of a panel of inquiry into the recent killing of a commuter by police officers on the highway, with severe disciplinary measures imposed on the perpetrator.

He urged the Senate not to sweep the matter under the rug.

Sen. Victor Umeh (LP- Anambra) said there was a need to focus more on the punishment of officers involved in the dehumanisation of highway commuters, while also suggesting that the officers involved be summarily dismissed.

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

He claimed that police officers frequently forced Nigerians, including pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and the sick, among other vulnerable people, to come down and walk a distance even in the rain.

Deputy Senate President Barau Jubril has called for an investigation into the dehumanisation of Nigerians on the roads.

In a subsequent resolution, the Senate called for the training and retraining of police officers to ensure civility in the discharge of their duties to Nigerians.

It also urged the Inspector General of Police to form a panel to investigate the barbaric killing of a commuter and report back to the Senate through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

 

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