…Backs Abia govt’s move to sanitise cattle market
Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Abia State Council, has strongly condemned the continued humiliation and dehumanisation of commuters at military check-points in the South-East.
Ikengaonline had in its special investigative report, exposed how commuters were forced to disembark from their vehicles and made to trek across irrespective of the atmospheric whether.
Surprisingly, vehicles are not subjected to any thorough check at such check-points, thus raising questions over the wisdom behind such practice.
NUJ in a communique after its monthly congress in Umuahia, called on the military authorities and the State Government to intervene.
There has also been a growing public outcry against humiliation of passengers at military check-points in Igboland.
Eminent personalities including National Assembly members from South-East have equally spoken out against the practice.
But the strange practice has continued with impunity.
Meanwhile, NUJ in the communique jointly signed by the Chairman of the Council, Comrade Victor Ndukwe; the Secretary, Adaeze Ralph-Igbokwe; and Chairman of Communique-Drafting Committee, Steve Oko; queried the rationale behind forcing passengers to disembark at military check-points and trek across even without any search on their vehicles.
The Council called for an end to any form of inhuman treatment against innocent citizens at checkpoints in the South-East.
It read in part: “Congress observes with perplexity, and condemns in very strong terms, the on-going humiliation, and dehumanisation of commuters at some military check-points on the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway especially at the NNPC Mega Filling Station junction, Umuahia; Abia State University, Uturu (ABSU) junction; Onuaku Uturu near the border with Ebonyi State; among others.
“Congress queries the rationale behind ordering passengers to disembark at the check points and trek across, even when no checks are conducted on their vehicles. It, therefore, calls on the State Government to prevail on the military authorities to review the practice which is generating public condemnation.”
NUJ also called for investigation of alleged extortions by some security operatives at some check-points.
It, however, noted with delight, a decline in extortion by some police personnel on road blocks.
“Congress also expresses worry over the disturbing rate of extortion at military check-points at various roads in parts of the state and calls on the military hierarchy to halt such corrupt tendencies. Meanwhile, Congress commends the Police authorities on the decline in extortion of motorists by its personnel on the roads and calls for total eradication of the unwholesome act.”
The communique called for the immediate removal of sandbags and other objects at road blocks “long abandoned by security agents across the state particularly within the Ehimiri Housing Estate, Umuahia, which now constitute serious risk to road users.”
NUJ acknowledged efforts of the Abia State Government and security agencies in checkmating insecurity in the state.
While commending the efforts, NUJ however, noted with concern, “the rising cases of robbery and burglary, especially within Umuahia metropolis, and urges security agencies to rise to the occasion; just as it calls for improved security across the state ahead of the Yuletide.”
On the controversy trailing the move by the Abia State Government to sanitise the Lokpanta Regional Cattle Market, and contain insecurity around the axis, NUJ backed the State Government on the move.
NUJ warned mischief makers against injecting tribalism into the security move.
“Congress commends the Abia State Government for the bold steps it has so far taken to sanitise the Regional Cattle Market at Umuchieze. It notes with delight, that insecurity has significantly reduced around the area in the recent times.
“Congress expresses its support for the move by the State Government to fence the cattle market, make it non-residential and other measures deemed necessary to improve security in the area. It urges for support and cooperation of all in the spirited efforts by Government to tackle insecurity around Umunneochi axis of the Enugu – Port Harcourt Expressway. Congress further advises the fifth columnists against politicising or introducing tribal sentiments into a sensitive issue like security.”
The communique further commended the efforts of Gov. Alex Otti to rebuild infrastructure in Abia State, and urged him not to relent.
“Congress commends the laudable efforts of Abia State Government in bridging the infrastructural deficit in the state. It hails the courage of the Alex Otti-led administration for embarking on the expansion of Ossah road, a major entry point into the state capital, to a six-lane road.
“Congress also commends the State Government for paying compensation to owners of property affected by the expansion project before kicking off the project and urges that the project be delivered in record time . It also sues for the urgent collaboration between the contractor handling the road and the FRSC in managing the regular traffic challenges occasioned by the ongoing road construction.
“Council commends the efforts of the State Government in fixing dilapidated roads within Umuahia metropolis, and appealed to those responsible for the on-going palliative work “to speed it up in view of the inconveniences that the hacked roads currently cause road users.”
NUJ further commended Abia State Government for demarcating the Umuwaya Road leading to the ever-busy Isigate city centre as part of efforts to allow for free flow of traffic around the area.
The Council, “however, noted with detest, the activities of tricycle operators who still cause unnecessary obstruction around the area, and calls on Government to ensure that the tricycle operators move into approved parks and Isigate given the expected facelift it deserves.”