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How police, army extort at COVID-19 checkpoints


The police and other security agencies have been accused of profiteering from the lockdown put in place to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.


Some residents in Lagos, Ibadan, Enugu, Umuahia, Jalingo and other major towns told The Guardian yesterday that rather than enforce the restriction, the operatives, including military and immigration personnel, were helping themselves to pecuniary gains.

The border closure in Oyo and Osun States might not achieve the intended desire as police and immigration officers along the Ibadan-Ife Expressway turned the exercise to a moneymaking venture.

At the checkpoints in Olukeye, Iyana Water, and Asejire, a border village between Oyo and Osun States, motorists were allowed free passage after parting with between N200 and N2000.



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The spokesman for the Oyo State Police Command, Olugbenga Fadeyi, however maintained that the officers “are supposed to enforce. Anybody who does that (extort) does so at his or her peril. They will be dealt with. Though we want the people to comply,we are not really interested in arresting. The issue of arrest, now, doesn’t really matter so much because of COVID-19.We are even decongesting the police station now. We want people to obey and comply, so that this pandemic will stop spreading.”

In Owerri, Imo State, one driver, Chinedu Manu, said: “The security men at various roadblocks collect N100 before they allow you to proceed. If you resist, they would charge you for not observing social distancing. They will also threaten to take you to their station.”

But Police Public Relations Officer Godson Orlando Ikeokwu told The Guardian: “I have not heard such information; I am receiving such from you for the first time.”

Some motorists on the Enugu-Port Harcourt Road admitted they could still move passengers from Enugu to Abia State, despite the inter-state restriction to movement.

Enugu, which shares borders with Benue, Ebonyi, Anambra and Abia States, had last week barred motorists from conveying passengers in and out of the state, exempting only persons on essential duties. Theguardianng

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