The Gombe State Commissioner of Police Oqua Etim has explained that checkpoints were removed to avert what he described as a “national embarrassment”.
Etim however clarified that checkpoints would still be operational from 12am to 6am, adding that their removal would curb the impression that they had become tollgates where motorists were extorted by corrupt cops.
He made this disclosure when the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Research and Planning Ali Janga, visited the command’s headquarters, while fielding answers the reasons the command abolished checkpoints within the state.
According to him, the decision was based on the public interest, stressing that it would be double jeopardy to have trailer drivers who complain of extortion revolt under the current challenges that the country, state were grappling with.
He said, “Most of you don’t go out in the night; a few days back, we averted what would have been a very serious national embarrassment. These are not matters we enjoy talking about in public and when we make mistakes, we correct them.
“We have instructions that those laws should commence at midnight because we have unscrupulous people who will never listen to what we say,” he said.
Speaking further, the Commissioner of Police disclosed that the abolition of the checkpoints was in furtherance to complaints of the residents.
Decrying perceptions by some communities that the timing was wrong, Etim said the Area Commanders had been charged with the task of patrolling the towns to avert attacks.
He added, “I have received complaints from some communities that the checkpoints were removed so that they would be attacked. The checkpoints were not removed from a particular community but all over the state.
“If you are coming from Lawanti, you will see military and police checkpoints. I then asked of what use is the police checkpoint that it should be removed so that we can have patrols? I have asked Area Commanders to increase in and out of town patrols. So, there is no threat to the electoral process.”
The DIG Janga, who was deployed for supervision of the governorship election in the North-East, while lauding his officers’ performance during the last presidential election, assured residents of a smoother process devoid of attacks.
He said, “I believe come March 11, 2023, we are giving assurance to the good people of Gombe State, that apart from providing security for lives and property, security will be extended to other places.”