The road blocks and checking points are uncountable, you lost count easily whenever you make an attempt to enumerate. Police, Army, FRSC, VIS, Immigration, Agric Control,
Customs, Vigilante etc.
Ordinarily, these security agencies are on the road to maintain the peace and ensure men of the underworld-thieves, kidnappers etc are checked and not allowed to cause mayhem.
It is difficult to ascertain whether their presence on the road has reduced or drastically reduced the crimes committed on the highways across the country.
However, one thing that is certain is the fact that, aside the good these road blocks are meant to provide, they have constituted themselves into nuisance and points of extortion, especially from commercial drivers.
The nuisance they cause is the fact that they, in many cases, breach the free flow of traffic on the highways, as well as compromise highway road safety by the crude way in which roads are blocked with logs of wood.
On November 10, 2022, the Daily Independent reported that a road block mounted by military men at Ochadamu on the popular Anyigba-Itobe Highway, in Ofu LGA of Kogi state, caused an accident that claimed unspecified number of casualties and over 20 vehicles burnt.
According to the locals, the accident occurred around 2 pm, and eye witness account told the newspaper correspondent that most of the dead were burnt beyond recognition while up to 30 vehicles got burnt.
On extortion, the Lagos-Benin highway is a case study of interest. On this very busy highway, the road blocks can be noticed after average every 30 kilometres.
Mostly targeted by these security agencies are unmarked commercial vehicles and articulated trucks hauling goods from one end to another.
Vehicles that are carrying goods suspected to be overload and private vehicle owners are also easy targets of men of the FRSC and VIS.
The Customs officers are also there harassing unregistered motorists and other vehicles they suspect to have been smuggled. In many cases, they are left off the hook after settlement.
While extortions are carried out in open day light, some of these agencies have devised a way of concealing their acts by using civilians who mount the blocks and collect their money, while they watch from aside. Several orders by authorities for its men to dismantle road blocks have either been disobeyed or circumvented.
We wonder why the leadership of these security agencies do not check these excesses of their men. Covert operations will go a long way on unearthing these illegalities on the highway.
As it stands today, many motorists are at the mercy of security agencies on Nigeria’s highways!