Rep. Nwogu said situations, where security personnel dehumanize citizens can lead to mistrust and prevent collaborative effort needed to tackle crime and criminality within the Southeast zone.
The House of Representatives has directed its Committees on National Security and Intelligence, Army, Police Affairs, and Human Rights to investigate allegations of forceful collection of N500,000.00 by some police officers on 8 July 2023, from travelers along Owerri-Onitsha express road.
The directive sequels the adoption of a motion sponsored by Rep. Mathew Nwogu (LP, IMO) on the need to stop the incessant dehumanization and Harassment of Road Travelers by Security Agents in South Eastern Nigeria.
Leading the debate, Nwogu decried the “incessant and continued dehumanization and harassment of road travelers in the Southeast Geopolitical zone of Nigeria by security agents, especially by some Police officers and Army personnel, who have perfected the acts of extorting money forcefully from road travelers embarking on a daily journey to earn their living.”
He worried that “the weapons given to the security agents to protect lives and property are now been used by some unscrupulous security agents to harass and dehumanize law-abiding travelers within the Southeast/South Geopolitical zone.”
The lawmaker also noted that a situation where citizens in the region are subjected to dehumanizing conditions for no fault of theirs and made to walk for kilometers is unacceptable.
“The House is alarmed at the brazen manner in which travelers within the Southeast are forcefully forced out from their vehicles by security agents and ordered to walk some kilometers with their hands raised above their heads thus, dehumanizing and portraying them as common criminals or prisoners, creating a feeling of discontentment, social unrest and creating the feeling of a conquered territory.”
While he acknowledged that the majority of the security personnel diligently and professionally perform their duties, Nwogu bemoaned cases of misconduct, abuse of power, and extortion perpetrated by a few individuals within these agencies.
He further expressed concern at the inability of some security personnel entrusted with the protection of lives and property to conduct themselves professionally, by subjecting and subjugating them to inhuman treatment thus, causing disenchantment between the citizenry and the security.
According to him, such situations further worsen the collaborative effort needed to checkmate crime and criminality within the Southeast geopolitical zone.