A report by the International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law has accused security and law enforcement agencies in Nigeria of making about N100 billion from roadside bribery and extortion in the South-East region.
According to the organization, the investigation into the trend of extortion started in August 2015 and was the findings released this year.
A senior official of the organization, Emeka Umeagbalasi said it decided to release the report to coincide with Christmas.
Umeagbalasi, who also coordinated the project, revealed that it is during this period that the security forces make their millions on the highway due to the high number of people travelling for the holidays.
According to Premium Times, the report also revealed that motorists already know how much they are expected to pay, failure of which they will be dealt with.
“For every shuttle or Mitsubishi L300 bus loaded with passengers (only) in Anambra State, it is N50 at every police roadblock, and extra N200 is paid if loaded with goods and passengers.
“For every commercial motorcycle or tricycle or Datsun or medium range truck loaded with goods, it is N200 at every police roadblock, and for every private vehicle owner accused of “incomplete” vehicle particulars, the least demanded sum is N4,000 or more, which must be paid randomly or on the spot to avoid being dragged to police station and have his or her vehicle impounded and indented as ‘stolen vehicle’,” the report said.
It also added that “Police extortions in Enugu and Ebonyi States, and to an extent, Imo State, are not as “lucrative” as those of Anambra and Abia States.
“Such extortions are majorly concentrated on critical federal and state roads as well as few commercial areas of the three states, such as Ogbete, Abakpa, and Nsukka in Enugu State; Abakiliki and Afikpo in Ebonyi State, Orlu and commercial parts of Owerri in Imo State.
“The same non-uniformity applies to many roadblocks in the five Southeast states, as well as those in Agbor, Asaba and their environs, all in Delta State.”
The organisation also alleged that some motorists are detained and illegal bail money collected from them, ranging from N10,000 and above.
A brief breakdown of the various agencies that benefit from this illicit business shows that: “Nigeria Police Force pocketed N78.02 billion, the military (Army, Navy and Air Force) received N6 billion and paramilitary formations (Customs, Road Safety, NAFDAC and NDLEA) took N16 billion. These totalled N100.02 billion ($330 million),” Premium Times reports.
In its reaction, the spokesman of the Nigerian Army, Sani Usman described the organisation’s report as lies, saying “It is not true. The Nigerian Army is very professional and has clearly established rules of engagement and code of conduct.”
Also, the spokesman of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Bisi Kazeem dismissed the report, saying that it needs to be specific.
Kazeem however told Premium Times that the Corps does not condone acts of bribery.
“Bribery is not institutionalised in the corps. Whoever is caught is dealt with by dismissal after trial by FRSC disciplinary committee.
“We have monitoring and surveillance team from unit level to sector level to zonal level ending at the headquarters.
“FRSC officers and men have name tags, the vehicle has body codes and registration numbers.”
Several orders have been issued regarding the dismantling of roadblocks by the police authorities at different times, but the recent revelation from this report shows that compliance do the directive might be an issue, or the will power to enforce the directive.