This man made hardship and difficulties orchestrated by these barricades across the city is often time, attributable to security measures aimed at checkmating the excesses of the terrorist organization Boko Haram to the detriment of citizens inalienable right to free movement
“Man must always have an organ with which to express himself. If he is denied of pen and paper, he raises his arm and writes. Instead of with paper, he writes with arms, instead of with pen, with sword; and instead of on paper, on men’s bodies. Authority demands restriction and citizens and the press demand freedom.
” These well articulated words and observation of a German scholar, Maynard Salmon many years ago aptly captures the feelings and frustration being suffered daily by residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, which according to some is occasioned by the myriad of barricade of express ways, major streets and pedestrian roads within the city by the authorities of the Nigerian military, Nigerian Police Force (NPF), Directorate of State Security Service (DSS) Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corp (NSCDC) and above all the Nigeria Custom Services (NCS) among many others.
This man made hardship and difficulties orchestrated by these barricades across the city is often time, attributable to security measures aimed at checkmating the excesses of the terrorist organization Boko Haram to the detriment of citizens inalienable right to free movement.
This is however, in addition to the fact that these roads and pedestrian being barricaded were constructed with tax payers money to facilitate easy movement of vehicles and citizens who may have need to walk from one location to the other within the territory.
But that is no longer the case in FCT as these military and paramilitary establishments have cordoned-off most part of tarred roads within the city and subsequently converted them to punishment- theatre and car-parks for their personnel and visitors to the establishments.
Though, reasons given by the perpetrator is security challenges, observers and affected citizens contends that it is outright bridge of the extant laws, in addition to the untold hardship citizens suffer as a result of this restriction.
They added that traffic gridlock are usually witnessed anywhere in the city where such barricades were erected
These unbridled barricades in the guise of security measures are according to observers and residents of the city, the height of professional irresponsibility, outright disobedience to the laws of the land and promotion of lawlessness.
They equally contended that it is heartbreaking to note that a country, which is blessed with seasoned lawyers like Nigeria, is suffering these kind of restriction of free flow of traffic and movement on the account of lawlessness of those that are suppose to enforce the law, and no single of these brilliant lawyers in the country had gone to court to challenge this fragrant violation of citizens fundamental rights. Late legal icon, barrister Gani Fawemi, (may his soul rest in peace) would have done just that if he was to be alive. They lament.
According to them, “This is a democracy and not military junta for crying out loud, therefore the military and paramilitary organizations should learn to do everything in strict adherence to the extant laws of the land and stop acting as if they are above the law.
“This culture of barricade is spreading in the territory like communicable disease as some government and private establishment such as banks have also copied it from the security agencies. Even some foreign missions that such, cannot be tried in their country have also cultivated the habit of barricading certain section of roads within their residents and offices.
” A business man and social crusader, Nze Kanayo Chukwumezie on his part threatened to challenge the said aberration, when observed that it is only in Nigeria that such lawlessness is practices in the name of security measures. He argued that other nations, advanced and developing that are facing similar security challenges like Nigeria are not cordoning off roads in the guise of security measures.
However, a visit to the headquarter of Nigerian Police Force popularly known as ‘Louis Edet House’ reveals that one part of the road was barricaded and the public restricted from plying that section of the road.
This is replicated across FCT where police facilities are situated, such as area 10, where one section of the road was also cordoned off from the public precisely in front of Criminal Investigation Department of the Nigerian Police Force. In zone 3, two lanes of the road leading to the zonal headquarter of Nigerian Police was also barricaded; this is in addition to the pedestrian in the same vicinity. The FCT Police Command and other police facilities within the city are not equally immune against this practice of blockade, as they are also culpable. The military are not also left out in this unlawful practice, as all the roads in and out of the military headquarter in area 8, as well as the Defense College are also barricaded.
The Directorate of State Security Services (DSS) is also part of the league of organizations that engage in these roads obstruction as they barricaded section of the road along their office in Aso Drive.
Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corp (NSCDC), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), Nigerian Custom Services (NCS) amongst many others are part of the organizations that drive pleasure in obstructing free movement in the nation’s roads. Apart from the obstruction, harassment, intimidation, brutality and untold hardship associated with the barricade, it also causes accident in the city as is evident in a court case involving a Radio Nigeria staff with NNPC following a fatal accident he suffered as a result of the barricade within NNPC towers.
Meanwhile, the ugly face to this lawlessness is the constant and widespread harassment, brutality, intimidation and verbal assault by officers and men of the Nigerian military and paramilitary especially the Nigerian Custom Services (NCS).
Investigation reveals that innocent citizens who are going about their legitimate businesses in the territory are often harassed, intimidated, verbally assaulted and some other times brutalized for daring to walk in some of the barricaded pedestrian roads in the city.
Our correspondent who fall victim of the incessant intimidation, verbal assault and harassment in hands of of
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