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

A task force engaged by the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), has taken over the traffic enforcement duty of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), the…

A task 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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