Ibrahim Idris, inspector-general of police (IGP), has ordered the immediate dismantling of illegal road blocks across the country.
According to Jimoh Moshood, spokesman of the Nigeria police, the IGP has deployed special X-squad teams across the country to commence “the removal of all forms of illegal blockage of highways and roads, and other obstructions on public highways and roads created by unlawful revenue/tax collectors, road transport unions, labour and trade related unions inhibiting vehicular movement and smooth passage of passengers and goods, and other road users”.
He said the special X-squad teams were under strict instructions to also arrest, investigate and prosecute any person or group of persons found committing this illegal act.
“It is unlawful and contrary to the laws for any individual, or group under any name to take laws into their hands and block any road or highway in full or any part of it under the guise of collection of revenue/tax or enforcement of the interests of such organisations,” Moshood said in a statement he issued on Sunday.
“For avoidance of doubt, the Taxes and Levies act, Laws of Federation of Nigeria 2004 section 2 (2) disallowed any person, including a tax authority from mounting a road block in any part of the federation for the purposes of collecting any tax or levy.
“Consequently, the Nigeria Police Force hereby advised the relevant state governments, local government councils, boards of internal revenue service across the country, various transport unions, labour and traders associations that it is against the law for any organisation to create a blockage and restrict or restrain members of the public the free usage of roads and highways anywhere in the country.”
Moshood said the police had received complaints that “illegal blockage points were most times taken over and used by armed robbers and kidnappers to rob, kidnap and maim innocent travellers and other road users”.
“The Nigeria Police Force implored the affected stakeholders mentioned in paragraph ‘four’ above to prevails on their proxies, agents and representatives to desist forthwith the blockage of highways and roads across the country, as the full weight of the law will be applied on anyone arrested in the act, and they will be prosecuted along with their sponsors,” he added.