Following the fatal auto crash that claimed the lives of over 20 persons on Sunday, November 28, at Ihiala, Anambra State, the House of Representatives has urged the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Baba to immediately remove all illegal checkpoints across the country.
The House arrived at the resolution after considering a motion by the member representing Ihiala Federal Constituency of the state, Hon. Ifeanyi Momah at plenary on Wednesday.
In the motion titled “Need to Investigate Loss of so Many Lives Along the Onitsha-Owerri Express Road Within Ihiala Federal Constituency,” the lawmaker charged the military to relocate their checkpoints in the state to the border towns.
The Lower Chamber, however, asked the IGP to direct the commissioner of police in Anambra State to review the location of the police checkpoint in Ihiala to prevent further occurrence of such disaster especially during the festive season
Momah disclosed that for over two years, the military and police checkpoints in lhiala Onitsha-Owerri Express Road have been operational to quell insecurity in the area, but the road users have since been subjected to devastating, degrading, and inhuman treatment occasioned by the operation of the military and police checkpoints in the area.
According to him, as a major express road, the negative impact of the military checkpoint has been grave on the community as well as road users.
He bemoaned that men, women, and children are forced to alight from their cars and raise their hands and pass through the checkpoint including nursing mothers and pregnant women.
“In fact, nursing mothers are made to carry their babies up high as they walk across the checkpoint, sometimes being forced to walk for over 1km,” he added.
He revealed that recently, a pregnant woman on a bike was whipped thoroughly at the military checkpoint, while traditional rulers are stopped and searched embarrassingly including ransacking of their traditional attire.
The lawmaker suggested that the military checkpoints ought to be mounted at Amorka community, which is the border between lhiala Local Government Area and Imo State, and not its current location which is a commercial hub crammed with markets, businesses, schools, etc.
He continued: “The town leaders have also asked that the checkpoint be relocated because of these hazards mentioned above to mitigate the calamitous consequences of the current situation. Yet, this dreadful situation persists with no glimmer of hope of improvement.”
He noted that on Saturday, the 30th day of May 2020, a police makeshift road blockage was the cause of a fatal accident at Ihiala which led to the death of a trailer driver and his conductor as well as over 10 bus passengers.
“Also, on Thursday the 4th day of November 2021 at about 15:50hours, an accident involving three vehicles on the Onitsha — Owerri Ihiala Road on Sunday, claimed the lives of three (3) children and six (6) adults according to the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) as the driver upon sighting the Police checkpoint, tried to apply the brake but couldn’t, thus resulting in the fatal accident (according to eye witness).
“Most recently, on Saturday, the 28th day of November 2021, a trailer carrying a container load of goods ran over twenty (20), public road users who died on the spot,” Momah added.
Adopting the motion after securing the support of the majority of its members, the House mandated its committee on police affairs and legislative compliance to ensure compliance to the resolution.
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