By Gbenga Gbelee
The Inspector-General of Police; Mr. Ibrahim Idris has ordered the dismantling of all police roadblocks across the country with immediate effect.
The police boss particularly ordered the immediate implementation of the directive on Lagos-Ibadan, Shagamu-Benin, and Benin-Onitsha highways.
According to a statement released to newsmen on Monday night by the police spokesman, Mr. Jimoh Moshood, the order also affects Okene-Abuja, Kaduna-Kano, Katsina – Kano, Otukpo – Enugu, Enugu – Port Harcourt Expressways.
The police mouthpiece said the directive became imperative with a view to ensuring ease of carrying out business transactions, safeguarding as well as guaranteeing free passage of goods and travellers across the length and breadth of the country.
While warning that the mounting of road blocks in any part of the country can only be by his permission henceforth, the police Inspector General directed all Assistant Inspectors-General, Commissioners and Heads of Departments to ensure that every patrol vehicle in their respective formations has conspicuous and legibly inscribed identification numbers as well as dedicated emergency mobile phone numbers which could be contacted by members of the public in cases of distress and emergency.
IGP Ibrahim further directed that police personnel involved in highway patrol and major roads across the country must always be in uniform which must bear a bold nametag and service number.
The police public relations officer disclosed that the special X-Sqaud teams of the force have been deployed nationwide to strictly monitor, arrest, investigate and sanction any erring police personnel caught violating the new directive.
The statement indicated further that the IGP also directed the special X-Squads to remove all other forms of illegal blockage and obstructions on highways and roads created by illegal revenue collectors, road transport unions, labour as well as trade associations.
The directive according to the press statement was hinged on Section 2 (2) of the Taxes and Levies act of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 which prohibits anyone including a Tax Authority from mounting a Road block in any part of the Federation for the purposes of collecting any tax or levy.
The press statement by the police spokesman indicated that the AIG in charge of border patrol was specifically directed to ensure compliance with the directive along the border routes except the few approved points by the federal government.
The force also cautioned the state, local government and trade union revenue collectors against inhibiting members of the public from the free use of roads anywhere in the country.