It is another Christmas time and the Southeast Zone is again under siege. The zone is not in a war situation but still in a war of sorts by federal and state owned security agencies. The main theatre of this siege is the Bridge Head in Onitsha which connects Anambra and Delta states.
These agencies of government include the Federal Road Safety Commission; the police, both regular and traffic wardens; the Navy, the Civil Defence (all federal government owned); and officials of the Anambra State Transport Management Agency, ASTMA.
The heavy presence of these groups is causing road users untold hardship, leading to complaints from all concerned.
Our worry is that often, the Southeast Zone is seen as an area to be milked, thus the seeming invasion of all manner of security agencies on the zone.
A visit to the other zones will reveal that such heavy security presence is nearly non-existent. When it is even discovered that such presence is not same in the war-torn North East Zone, one wonders what they see in the Southeast.
Now, as Christmas beckons, and as many people from the zone return in their numbers, these people in uniform have invaded parts of the Southeast like an Army. Last Tuesday, a motorist lamented how he spent an hour and a half before crossing from Onitsha to Asaba and how he was stopped many times at different points by the uniformed groups.
The other day at the senate, the senator representing Anambra Central, Mrs Uche Ekwunife, had condemned the preponderance of Customs officials on the Southeast roads, even with a subsisting directive against Customs operating far from the country’s borders.
One can only believe that this happens because they see the Southeast Zone as a land of opportunities for them where they can extort people at will.
We condemn this in its entirety. These groups should find better ways of doing whatever is their business without frustrating road users. People coming home for Christmas should be spared this torture by being allowed to return to their families in peace.
Chances are that if this is allowed to linger, it may lead to rising of tempers which could result in some unpleasantness.
Those concerned should please stop this for sanity to prevail.