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SuleimanWhen the recently retired Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Diko Abubakar assumed office, he promised to order his men to quit the highways and hinterland roads across the country. Many Nigerians applauded this decision, though with mixed feelings. Some segment of the populace believed that the removal of roadblocks would drastically reduce police extortion, corruption and unwarranted brutality coupled with accidental killings while others are of the view that with the disappearance of the ‘men in black’ on our highways, there is tendency for the increment of crimes which include robbery, kidnapping, terrorism, assassination and other anti-social vices.

Judging by these views, motorists are bound to accept the opinion of the former, having gone through dirty experiences from the hands of Policemen, especially those who are trigger-happy amongst them. Specifically, it is quite obvious that robbers, kidnappers and other anti-social campaigners have had seemingly free hands, operating on the roads with little or no confrontation from any security agencies. Even smugglers of expired and contraband goods also had enough time to do their nefarious businesses without being disturbed by anyone. It is quite clear that men of the Nigerian Customs service sometimes rely on the presence of the policemen to do their jobs diligently.

Having assumed duty as the Inspector General of Police, Taraba-born Suleiman Abba must have studied carefully the merits and demerits of roadblocks removal across the country. Though, with the gradual returning of the men in black to the roads without adequate consultation with the Nigerian public, it is obvious that he must have done so to castigate Abubakar’s style of administration. Reports have it that when MD Abubakar took the decision of removing the roadblocks, some members of the top hierarchy of the Nigerian Police force then were not happy with him. Why? You may ask; the fact is that they also benefit immensely from the returns supplied by over 2,000 men of the force who mount different roadblocks day and night all over the country. This must have caused them grievous pain throughout the tenure Abubakar, hence they waited anxiously for his retirement and subsequent removal before urging or forcing his successor to go back to the status quo.

Another issue generating interest in the minds of Nigerians is the fact that, when the Presidency, through the advice of the MD Abubakar-led police hierarchy back then decided to remove the roadblocks, information had it that police salary was increased by 100%. This salary increase is believed to be able to cover up for whatever they are supposed to rake in while on the roads. Members of the force, both men and women were reported to have gone into wild jubilation and celebrated such a kind gesture by the Presidency. They immediately concurred with the order of the IGP and withdrew into their shells (police station & homes), leaving the highways free.

Interestingly, many Nigerians and close observers of the development keep asking, what would happen to the salaries of these men (Police) now that roadblocks are gradually coming back, are their salaries going to be slashed or would they still be collecting the “handsome” take home pay alongside the regular income from the roads at the expense of tax payers and road users? Well, it is our believe that the current police hierarchy should properly do its homework because Nigerians would not sit back and watch the police extorts them and still get well paid and also go away with many atrocities they perpetrate on the roads.

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