By Abiola Rufai
Ilaro the capital city of Ogun West region of Ogun State witnessed a standstill today as commercial motor drivers and motorcycle riders protest the daily extortions of the Nigeria Police Force along the 7 kilometres Ilaro/Oja-Odan road which is 15 minutes drive.
The extortion which is prominent mostly on popular Oja-Odan market day was described as unbearable by the drivers and market men and women.
Speaking with one of the drivers, Mr. Mukaila Sonekan said that the numbers of Police checking point along the road especially on Oja-Odan market day was over fifteen (15) aside the multiple checking point of men of the Nigeria Customs Service that has thirteen (13) checking point with Nigeria Army and men of the Federal Road Safety Corps with one (1) checking point each.
Mr. Sonekan alleged that, “each checking point of the Nigeria Police Force collect two hundred naira (N200) from each commercial vehicle and motorcycle plying the road in the morning while another team of the Police also collect same amount in the afternoon, aside that of members of FRSC that collects five hundred naira (N500) and Nigerian Army”.
According to him, “we are tired of this extortions by the Police, Soldiers and FRSC. They created unnecessary road blocks to frustrate our daily business activities, most especially on Oja-Odan market day.
“The funniest part is that they (Police) seizes our car or break the side mirror of our car if we decline to give them the money. It is not only the police, members of FRSC and Nigerian Army also create bottleneck for our legal source of income?”
The Ilaro branch Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Mr. Ibrahim Olaleye, on his own called for calm while stating that the union was looking into the allegation.
His words, “it is true that the Nigeria Police are exalting money from our members and we have tried our best in the past to put an end to it, but to no avail. However, with the situation on ground now, we will not stop to appeal to authority of the Nigeria Police to please do the needful before the situation go out of hand. On our own, we will continue to talk to our members to keep calm.”
Meanwhile, the market women and men who were mainly farm produce and food sellers couldn’t attend the market as a result of the protest.
However, all efforts to speak with the Area Commander of Ilaro Police Division, Mr Christopher Adeyeri and Ilaro Divisional Police Officer, Mr. Fijabi were to no avail as they were busy appealing to the protesters.