By Eniola Daniel
• 19 Roadblocks Between Shagamu, Ore.
• Army Has Two, Customs Two, Street Urchins One, Police Have Others.
• Drivers Threaten To Increase Fares
Abuja (Precise Post) – With several businesses witnessing low performance and companies facing hard times, it now seems business to enlist among one of Nigeria’s security outfits, after which one is posted along the Benin-Ore road.
The number of security checks along the route increased after the killing of Olufunke Olakunrin, the daughter of Pa Reuben Fasoranti, the leader of Pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, by persons suspected to be herdsmen in Ondo State on July, 2019.
It will be recalled that former Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, in 2018 ordered the immediate dismantling of roadblocks across the country. Idris at that time said the move became necessary, so, as not to obstruct the highways under the guise of collecting revenue.
He, however, assured of security and safety of travellers and other road users on all the highways and major roads throughout the country. But a few weeks after the pronouncement, the men of the Nigeria police returned to the roads, extorting motorists, especially in Lagos, using commercial vehicles for official van, including ordering passengers in already loaded vehicle to alight for them to commandeer the buses for patrol.
The police, army and customs have taken over the road, beginning at Shagamu, Ogun State, down to Ore in Ondo State charging commercial drivers between N100 to N200 each. This is apart from money extorted by street urchins who created their roadblocks in some portion of the road under construction. They collect between N50 and N100 to allow drivers pass through partially closed portions.
The army stationed at the boundary between Ogun State and Ondo State are, however, smarter as they placed a tyre beside the road where drivers drop N100 before they can continue their journey. The police charge N200, but if a vehicle carries more than a bag of rice, the driver is made to come down and do proper negotiation.
A driver, Efe (not real name) who spoke to The Guardian, said, “I part with a total of N2,400 right from the first road block in Ogun State to the last one in Ore, Ondo State. The number of checkpoints increased almost immediately Pa Fasoranti’s daughter was killed along the road.
On whether the extortion will affect transport fares, he said, “we’ll have no other option than to increase fares if the men continue to harass and extort us” he said. A driver who recently travelled to Abia State from Lagos said, “my traveling experience from Lagos to Abia was a bad experience, it was just like forcing someone to give offering. There are about 15 checkpoints from Shagamu to Warri, they stop and search and when they do not see anything, they ask for vehicle document and even after providing them, they still collect money from you. These guys are on the road round the clock.