The driver for one of the transport businesses, Mr Kelechi Okoro, has filed the complaint.

His grievance concerned motorists’ challenges in the area due to the significant concentration of law enforcement and military personnel.

“I’m still surprised why the Enugu and Anambra States governors have not addressed the hardship security operatives are causing on our roads. How can you have all these checkpoints just from Awka to Enugu?

“What is most worrisome is that these people are not doing anything related to security. They block the road and cause traffic snarls everywhere. They only remember to search you if the boys working for them ask you to give money and you refuse. Sometimes, they just sit down under the shade, while those local boys harass drivers and park anyone who refuses to give money.

“My greatest unhappiness is about those boys. Because they are running errands for military men, if they look at you and feel you are not obeying them, they just park you. Very saucy people.”

This reporter recently travelled the Enugu-Onitsha Motorway in reverse from Awka to Enugu and returned, where they witnessed the predicament of passengers firsthand.

The trip began at Aroma Junction in Awka and continued past Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Awka, Amansea, and finally out of Anambra.

However, it was unexpected that this reporter would come across a Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), navy, mobile police, and other checkpoints at such a short distance—less than four kilometres—before entering Enugu State, which had even more.

Investigations revealed that the motorway, which runs roughly 50 km from Awka to Enugu, is home to at least 20 checkpoints set up by different security organisations. As a result, drivers’ legs are continuously on the brake pedal.

The South-East’s insecurity may be the reason for the high number of security checks, but the security officers’ behaviour makes the situation even more unsettling.

For instance, on the way back to the Oji River axis, the reporter encountered heavy traffic at a checkpoint staffed by mobile police officers. However, even after the traffic was cleared, it persisted until it was determined that the heavy traffic was caused by an army checkpoint up ahead, which spilt over to a police checkpoint.

In interviews with Zingtie, commuters lamented the difficulties they experienced daily while driving.

Mass transit driver Mr Okoro, whose lamentations were shown above, claims that what irritates him the most is the confidence with which security personnel block the roadways and retreat to their cubicles, allowing errand boys to care to cars.

As unpleasant and hot as Okoro’s bus is, Mr Celestine Ugwunnwa, another passenger, is more worried that the driver cannot speed up to reduce passenger suffering since he must continually apply the brakes as he passes through checkpoints.

“It is true that there is insecurity, but is this the best way to police the zone? Do we have to be punished so hard, before we can be policed? See how they just blocked the road. They are not conducting any checks so long as they get money from their errand boys who are working for them.

“The only time they come out is when those boys report to them that a driver refused to give money, or when they hear the sound of a siren, showing that a big man is coming. This is too bad,” he lamented.

Speaking with Zingtie, a staff member at Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Awka, stated:  “You people who are journalists need to write about the trouble we face to get to the office every day.

“Just from Awka to Unizik in Agu Awka, you meet Civil Defense, Road Safety, police and Navy. People should ask what business the Navy has on our roads. Those navy people you see at Stanel Filling Station are people who were enlisted to guard that property, but instead of guarding the business place, they block the road and collect money from motorists. Is that how to provide security?

Dr. Onyekachi Ibezim, the deputy governor of Anambra State, and military soldiers engaged in a severe altercation in December 2022 at a checkpoint in Amansea, an Anambra village that borders Enugu State.

Ibezim observed a lengthy queue of cars stuck at the checkpoint. Travellers heading home from around the world for the Christmas season made up the traffic. He immediately gave the order to take down the barricades and allow traffic to pass freely.

Traffic soon lessened following the Yuletide incident, but the roadblock reappeared soon after, and the operatives were even more aggressive.

As Yuletide approaches, many think that because Igbo people like to spend Christmas at home, this could be a lucrative time for security personnel who staff checkpoints throughout the Southeast.

The effectiveness of security agents’ tactics in combating insecurity in the South East is questioned. As passenger Celestine Ugwunnwa pointed out, there is a better way to address the issue than using roadblocks, which are perceived as punishing policing.

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