Daily Trust

‘Task force’ takes over traf­fic en­force­ment in Abuja, ex­tort mo­torists

- By Terkula Igidi& Taiwo Adeniyi Nigeria News · Crime · Abuja · Nigeria · Australian Capital Territory · The German government · Nigeria Police Force · Media Trust

Atask force en­gaged by the Abuja Mu­nic­i­pal Area Coun­cil (AMAC), has taken over the traf­fic en­force­ment duty of the Nige­ria Po­lice Force (NPF), the Fed­eral Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and the Direc­torate of Road Traf­fic Ser­vices (DRTS -VIO) in the Fed­eral Cap­i­tal Ter­ri­tory (FCT), es­pe­cially in ar­eas un­der the coun­cil’s ju­ris­dic­tion.

The men who be­have like thugs, have been ac­cused by mo­torists of ha­rass­ment and extortion. They op­er­ate mainly in Mabushi, Jabi, Nyanya and Garki.

Daily Trust learnt that the men are mem­bers of a task force com­mit­tee on mo­tor parks and trans­porta­tion of AMAC set up by the Chair­man of the coun­cil, Al­haji Ab­dul­lahi Can­dido, to check the ac­tiv­i­ties of il­le­gal mo­tor parks.

How­ever, mem­bers of the task force (thugs) have aban­doned their core man­date and have re­sorted to ex­tort­ing res­i­dents and en­forc­ing traf­fic rules that are man­dates of the po­lice, DTRS and the FRSC.

An AMAC res­i­dent said that while he was driv­ing the men ac­costed him in Nyanya area, as he slowed down to pick a friend.

He ex­plained that, “As I slowed down while de­scend­ing the bridge at the Nyanya in­ter­change, the thugs hopped into my car be­fore I stopped and ac­cused me of il­le­gal park­ing. They asked me to bribe them so that they would re­lease me and that if they took me to their of­fice, I would pay N15,000. I gave them N1,000, but they re­fused, and even when my friend who I wanted to pick came and added N1,000, they still re­fused; that it was too small for the five of them.”

He added that when they fi­nally took him to their op­er­a­tion base in Nyanya, along Karu-Jik­woyi Road, their chair­man was not avail­able, but that their PRO said the only way he would avoid hav­ing his tyres de­flated and pay­ing the N15, 000 fine was to part with N5,000 to set­tle the five peo­ple that ar­rested him, adding that re­luc­tantly he parted with the money.

An­other res­i­dent, Ke­hinde Shuaib, said he was ar­rested by the men in front of the Fed­eral Min­istry of Works and Hous­ing as he parked by the walkway to make a call.

Shuaib said three of the rough look­ing guys jumped into his car and forced him to drive to their of­fice in Jabi, but that on their way a friend in­ter­vened and that they re­leased him af­ter a tip.

Re­spond­ing to an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the ac­tiv­i­ties of the group, the Head of In­for­ma­tion of AMAC, Mr. Tunde At­teh, said the coun­cil did not per­mit any­body to ter­rorise cit­i­zens in what­ever form.

At­teh

said,

“As­sign­ments were given to peo­ple to gen­er­ate rev­enue in a peace­ful man­ner. You don’t ter­rorise the peo­ple that you are col­lect­ing some­thing from. If you do that, how will you be able to get what you want from them?”

He ex­plained that the coun­cil was un­aware of the ac­tiv­i­ties of the men.

The FCT Po­lice Com­mand spokesper­son, ASP Mariam Yusuf, when con­tacted on phone, said the com­mand was not aware of the ac­tiv­i­ties of the task force out­side mo­tor parks, but that now that it had been brought to its (com­mand) knowl­edge, ac­tion would be taken.

Also, when con­tacted, the PRO of DTRS, Mr. Kalu Emetu, said it was un­for­tu­nate that the task force had taken up re­spon­si­bil­i­ties that were not un­der its ar­eas of op­er­a­tion, but as­sured that the cri­sis would soon be re­solved as stake­hold­ers were work­ing be­hind the scenes to bring san­ity to the city.

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