IGP Idris bans police road blocks nationwide

It is indeed good news for transporters and other road users, particularly on the South-south/South-east axis of the country, following the ban on police road blocks nationwide. The ban became necessary in the face of intimidation and extortion of road users by unscrupulous policemen on the country’s highways.

The ban became effective Monday following an order by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mr. Ibrahim K. Idris, who ordered the immediate removal of all roadblocks mounted by policemen across the country.  This was disclosed in a statement signed by Mr. Jimoh Moshood, spokesperson of the Nigeria Police Force.

According to the statement, the order specifically applies to the Lagos-Ibadan, Shagamu-Benin, Benin-Onitsha, Okene-Abuja, Kaduna-Kano, Katsina-Kano, Otukpo-Enugu, Enugu–Port Harcourt expressways. The order, explained the statement, was issued to enable ease of doing business in the country by guaranteeing the safety and free movement of goods and travelers.

The statement continues: “To this end, no Police department, section, squad or unit should mount roadblock without the express permission of the Inspector-General of Police. Consequently, Assistant Inspectors-General of Police in charge of Zonal Commands, Commissioners of Police in charge of State Commands, Heads of Departments, must ensure that every patrol vehicle in their respective formation carries a conspicuous and legible inscription of patrol vehicle identification number and dedicated emergency phone numbers for ease of identification and report of distress by members of the public,” the IGP directed. He equally directed the Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of border patrol to ensure compliance with the order dismantling roadblocks along border routes except those approved the Federal Government. In addition, the IGP stated that policemen on highway patrol duties must wear bold name tags and service numbers on their uniforms.

Idris is not the first IGP to ban road blocks by policemen, who use it as extortion points on the highways. Indeed his predecessors had taken similar actions, which were enforced for only a few weeks, after the extortionists returned to their usual game.

Perhaps to avoid disregard of the IGP’s directive, the statement disclosed that Police Special X-Squad teams have been deployed throughout the country and given strict instructions to arrest, investigate and discipline violators.
The Special X-Squads have also been ordered to commence the removal of other forms of impediments mounted on highways by illegal revenue/tax collectors, road transport unions, labor and trade-related unions.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Taxes and Levies Act, Laws of Federation of Nigeria 2004 section 2 (2) disallows any person, including a Tax Authority from mounting a roadblock in any part of the Federation for the purposes of collecting any tax or levy,” the Police warned.

To this end, the Force cautioned state governments, local government councils, Boards of States Internal Revenue Service, transport unions, labor and traders’ associations that it is illegal to restrict the movement of road users anywhere in the country.


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