Extortion: Dismantle border checkpoints - Anambra lawmaker tells Obiano 1
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Extortion: Dismantle border checkpoints – Anambra lawmaker tells Obiano

Member representing Awka-North constituency in Anambra state Assembly, Hon. John Okoye has urged the state governor, Chief Willie Obiano to order for immediate dismantling of the border check-point at Umuji village, Ebenebe community in his constituency.

He alleged that the check-point was serving as easy route by violators of the order against inter-state travels, describing it as a cash-cow for those employed to man it.

The lawmaker further alleged that some commuters, especially commercial vehicle operators who exit or enter the state from the neighbouring Ezeagu area of Enugu state through the border check-point pay as much as N10,000 to compromise those manning the place.

He expressed worry that the development had put the health of his constituents at a serious risk of contracting the COVID-19 disease, adding that entry into the state by people outside the state though the check-point might even be responsible for the recent increase in the COVID-19 cases being recirded in the state.

“I had wanted to raise the matter in the floor of the state House of Assembly to call on the state governor ( Chief Willie Obiano) to dismantle that border check-point but have not been able to do so because we have not been sitting regularly since the Coronavirus pandemic broke out.

“Besides. that check-point at Umuji is not supposed to be there because that place is not a border area. The person who established it did so simply to use it for extortion. I was told that commercial vehicles, especially those conveying passengers to the Northern part of the country pay as much as N10,000 before they are allowed to pass”, the lawmaker stated.

Reacting to the development, Chairman of Transition Committee, Awka-North local government, Chief Ferdinand Onwuje stated that he was the person who established the check-point shortly after the inter-state travel ban was imposed by the government to contral spread of COVID-19 in the state.

He stated that he mounted the check-point on the instruction of the then state Commissioner for Transport, Dr. Christian Madubuko in tracking down people who enter the state through various routes in neighboring Ezesgu area of Enugu state.

He stated that he paid those he employed to man the check-point for two weeks for the first two weeks after establishing it from his personal pocket, and, thereafter handed the management of the check-point to Dr. Madubuko who he said later in collaboration with the Chief Security Officer to the governor, Mr. Chinedu appointed one of the Special Assistants to the governor and chairman of the state chapter of the Ohaneze Ndigbo, Mr. Okpalaezeukwu Chukwuma to take over management of the check-point.

Mr. Onwuje however, lamented that the people manning the check-point might have resorted to extortion because according to his findings showed that they have not been paid any other money except the payment he made to them for the two weeks he supervised them which he said was a total sum of N30,000 at N15,000 per week.

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