Checkpoints or extortion points?

Commuters expect highway security agents to keep the road safe and convenient for travellerss across the country. The police and military checkpoints are meant to provide maximum security on the roads against the backdrop of the prevalence of kidnapping, armed robbery, Boko Haram, marauding killers, etcetera. Regrettably, checkpoints in Nigeria are of delay and extortion.

Some of the officers do not care to check what one carries. They only delay journeys and financially extort commuters. This is how drugs, weapons, criminals and other illegal goods travel fast across the country which obviously defeats the purpose of erecting the checkpoints.

It’s understandable that we need security agents on our roads at this point in time, to protect lives not to make travel inconvenient for the people they are expected to protect.

On a sad note, when commuters approach security formations on highways, they are to be terrified instead of being relieved, not for the fear of verification of essential car documents, accessories, and baggage, which is normal even in the developed world, but for the unprofessional attitude of some of who oppress, delay and demand bestowal by all means. This causes great setbacks to their duties of protecting the people.

One might wonder if these security agents are not under any obligation to protect Nigerians looking at how they exploit travellers with sheer impunity. A journey that takes six hours would end up consuming eight good hours due to the potholes and officers’ unprofessionalism at checkpoints. This is not to mention the festive seasons, when there will be more cars as most people are eager to go home and meet their loved ones. The suffering is perhaps going to be doubled. Had our security agents shown professionalism in their conduct, no one would complain.

We can’t get it right until order is restored, starting from the erring people in uniform, to serve as a deterrent to others with similar intentions.

Tajuddeen Ahmad Tijjani,
Galadima Mahmud Street,
Kasuwar-Kaji, Azare, Bauchi state