The Southeast Amalgamated Market Traders Association (SEAMATA) has called on the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu to take urgent steps to call to order, policemen deployed to enforce the ban on interstate travels at the borders in the southeast region.
They are accusing the Policemen of collecting huge amounts of money to allow movements at the borders, thereby sabotaging efforts by the government at various levels to curb the spread of the virus.
The call is coming on the heels of numerous allegations of bribery and corruption against the border policemen which have gone unheeded.
In a letter to the IGP, signed by the association’s President-General, Chief Gozie Akudolu and its Secretary-General, Mr Alex Okwudiri, on Tuesday in Enugu, said the actions of the policemen are capable of undermining efforts by the Force to build public confidence which is vital in the security business.
It said that SEAMATA had been following with keen interest the IGP’s uncompromising position in total implementation of all government and health authorities’ directives in the control of COVID-19 pandemic to the letter even in the face of obvious challenges.
The statement said: “Your very prompt and proactive response by summarily and timely dealing with some trigger-happy officers of the force that recklessly killed innocent and defenceless citizens.
“And the others that shamelessly engaged in flagrant abuse of the fundamental rights of the citizens during this lockdown, at various places across the country had in no small measures, acted as a deterrent to the rank and file of the force.
“However, the great damage which the activities of some officers deployed at state boundaries are doing to the public image of the force, which the IGP had been working very hard to improve.
“Some of these officers engage in the collection of monetary inducement from drivers and commuters and allow them passage, even when the government had ordered a ban on inter-state movements.
“The activities of these unpatriotic officers, which is reported in both print and electronic media, is not only worrisome but seriously undermine the efforts of the government and the police to contain the rapid spread of COVID-19 disease across the states.
“We understand that the force is monitoring the operations of their
men across all commands and formations; and most respectfully suggest that you set up a team of the I-G’s monitors to monitor the officers at the state boundaries and their monitors.”
The traders requested that the offending officers should be fished out and dealt with summarily the way their trigger-happy colleagues were dealt with.
The statement also lauded the leadership of the force in the zone for their efforts, adding that Anambra Commissioner of Police, Mr John Abang was doing exceptionally well.
It said: “His zero tolerance to crime and criminality in all ramifications and prompt response to reports had helped in making Anambra State not only the safest in crime but also COVID-19 disease directives compliance.”