Police disobey court order continue checkpoints, extortions in Anambra| NN NEWS

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Two days after an Anambra State High Court ordered the state government and the Commissioner of Police to remove all roadblocks in the state, the police are still operating roadblocks without any restraint. 

Justice Ike Ogu had on Tuesday delivered a judgment in the case of Francis Moneke vs Anambra State Government and Others, saying the government and police had no legal justification whatsoever in erecting roadblocks on major roads in the state on the pretext of checking insecurity. 

Justice Ogu held that such illegal blockage flagrantly violated the applicant’s right to freedom of movement and should be immediately removed to allow the free movement of persons and vehicles. 

But on Thursday, our correspondent, who went round major roads in the state, observed the usual checkpoints. The roadblocks were causing a lot of pain to motorists as police personnel used the opportunity to extort motorists. 

Motorists spent close to two hours at checkpoints in the Upper Iweka, Oba-Obosi and Idemili sections of the Onitsha-Owerri Road for a journey of less than 15 minutes. The Awkuzu and Amaubia areas of the Onitsha-Awka Road were not left out as motorists battled with gridlocks associated with the roadblocks. 

The Commissioner for Information, Mr. C-Don Adinuba, claimed that the state government had yet to get a copy of the judgment ordering the removal of all roadblocks in the state. 

Adinuba said, “We haven’t seen the judgment; we don’t know who went to court. Probably, the Anambra State Government was not a party to the suit. I cannot predict what the action of the government will be until we look at the judgment. 

Don’t forget that the roadblocks are also part of security measures; if you remove them completely, it means you are inviting criminals to take over the roads. Forget the extortion the police are doing; it is a nationwide problem. What we should be after is how the police can do their work right.” 

The Head, Anambra State chapter of the Civil Liberties Organisation, Mr. Vincent Ezekwueme, said it was not enough for a court to issue an order to the police to dismantle roadblocks, the Inspector-General of Police would have to be served for the order to be complied with. 

Ezekwueme stated, “The order must go through the IG, who will now direct the police to dismantle the roadblocks; otherwise, that order may not be carried out. It is incumbent on all the parties to obey the order, but then, the police will have to take directive from the IG before dismantling roadblocks. 

“Although dismantling the roadblocks may be detrimental to the security of lives and properties, what the police should do is to find a way of ensuring that roadblocks are contained in a way that they are not causing any pain for the masses.” 

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