- A campaign against the extortion of motorists by law enforcement agents is about to commence nationwide
- The initiative is the brainchild of the Youths and Students Advocate For Development Initiative (YSAD)
- The initiative has received the support of the National Human Rights Commission and Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe
FCT, Abuja - The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has lauded the Youths and Students Advocate For Development Initiative (YSAD) on its campaign against the extortion of motorists by law enforcement agents.
The executive secretary of the NHRC, Tony Okechukwu Ojukwu Esq, gave the commendation during an advocacy visit by the YSAD team to the commission earlier this week.
Represented by the director, civil and political rights, Abdulrahaman Yakubu, he noted that the project is timely and laudable considering the violation of human rights and even deaths.
He also pledged the support of the commission towards the success of the project.
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“This project is a very laudable one because we are all witnesses to the extortion of road users by law enforcement agencies. It is something that we all should work together to put an end to because this conduct has resulted in the violation of human rights and even led to the death of some citizens.
“It is our joy to work with you and also provide the necessary assistance that would help make this project a success.”
Earlier, the Project Lead, Obinna Nwagbara, noted that the "No Dey Give: Follow Traffic Rules" project would employ a multi-stakeholder approach towards tackling the menace of extortion on Nigerian roads.
“Extortion on Nigerian roads by law enforcement agents, while it may not be the biggest corruption and human rights abuse in the country, it is no doubt, the most visible corruption, and human rights abuse in Nigeria and it has done great damage to the psyche of citizens, especially young Nigerians.
“From our observation, the extortion witnessed on Nigerian roads in some cases is a result of the unabashed violation of traffic rules and regulations by motorists; a situation some law enforcement agents take advantage of to extort them, rather than compel them to obey traffic rules and regulations.
“Passengers are not left out as they push drivers to pay bribes just because they want to move, same way as drivers who encourage others to pay since they are not following the rules.
“In this project, we intend to organize sensitization workshops for the leadership of transport union workers, organize youth summits on human rights and police extortion, and receive complaints of extortion from citizens through a dedicated toll-free line.
“The goal is to raise citizens’ awareness on the menace of extortion and how it is connected with police brutality; advocate that Nigerians should obey rules and regulations; and contribute to the need to strengthen civilian oversight of the police.”
Campaign will kick off in the southeast
Nwagbara added that the project would kick off in Abia and Imo states with support from Voice in Nigeria.
Similarly, the YSAD team also met with the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe (Abia South) at his office in the National Assembly complex.
The lawmaker commended the project and promised to further engage with the group on its planned programmes within the project period.
ICPC, DSS move to stop extortion on highways
Recall that some officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) were recently arrested for bribery and corrupt practices on the highways.
The officials were arrested by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for extorting money from motorists on highways across the country.
They were arrested on Thursday, August 12, during the enforcement of the sixth phase of ‘Operation Tranquility’ by officers of ICPC, FRSC, and the Department of State Services.
Meanwhile, the recent decision of the federal government to return to tollgates has been criticised by many Nigerians.
A lot of respondents in Legit.ng poll believe that the decision is ill-timed, adding that the roads in the country are mostly in bad shape.
They also noted the regular extortion of commercial and private drivers by security officers and the fees collected by the FRSC and VIO.