Group calls out Imo govt, CDS, COAS over humiliating Army checkpoint at Mgbidi

Says travellers continuously humiliated on checkpoint 
A security tracking platform, Security Situation Room, has asked the Chief of  Defence Staff, the Chief of Army Staff and the Imo State Government to dismantle the illegal, ethnic profiling road block of the Nigerian Army at Mgbidi  Imo State, Along the Onitsha-Owerri Express Way.
Convener of the group, Mr. Douglas Ogbankwa in a statement in Abuja,  on Tuesday, noted that the army checkpoint is illegal and should be dismantled.
The statement said:  “The Security Situation Room through our observers noticed with dismay, the long unconscionable and reprehensible gridlock, artificially spurned by Ethnic Profiling Army Personnel , who force commuters to disembark from their vehicles like great trek of the pre-apartheid South Africa, with the attendant danger of fast moving vehicles on the ever busy Owerri Onitsha Express Way, a clear case of Ethnic Profiling and even Apartheid  Policy targeted towards the Igbos as prohibited by Section 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria , 1999 (As Amended), as Majority of those that play that road are of Igbo extraction.
“Where as in the hot bed of insurgency and banditry in the North East, the Nigerian Army does not deploy such selective and targeted method used to humiliate people with out any reasonable cause  whatsoever.
“They force occupants of  buses and commercial cars to disembark, who are mostly those perceived as the poor and weak, while those in Air Conditioned Private Vehicles are given fast passes, which is in violation of Section 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,(1999), as Amended, which states that nobody should be discriminated against because of his or her status, tribe, religion, gender, creed, etc.”
“There is no search conducted, even at that they need a warrant on each commuter in their name to conduct a search, according to the law.
“Such impediment of movement can only be effected by a court order.
“Allowing such arbitrary use of power creates a society of strong men and not strong institutions.”
“The Security Situation Room condemns the actions of the Operatives of the Nigeria in Mgbide ,along the Owerri Onitsha Express.
“We restate that there is freedom of liberty and freedom of movement as enshrined in Chapter 4 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria , 1999 (As Amended), as the actions of the Operatives of the Nigeria Army in the flash point indicated above  is a flagrant infringement of the Fundamental Human Rights of the citizens who ply the road.
“We call on the Imo State Government to insist that the protection of Human Rights are maintained in the Security Operations in the state  as the rule of law should be adhered to , as doing so is in the interest of national security.
“We noticed that following our out cry, the Army in Anambra has conformed with the  Standard Operational Procedures and we call on the Imo State Government and the Army in Imo State to resist the temptation to make Imo State a safe haven  for  Ethnic Profiling of the Igbos.
“We state that road blocks between Anambra and Imo States are too many and it actually impedes the free movement of citizens and goods in the South East.
“We remind the Imo  State Government  and the Army in Imo State  of the judgment of Justice Ogu of a High Court in Awka , which had declared those road blocks Illegal and an infringement on the Fundamental Human Rights of Citizens.
“We thank Mr Gozie Esq., for having the temerity to challenge the status quo and we ask citizens to fight for their rights through the lawful process in these times of blatant impunity that is targeted at ethnic profiling and  nothing else.
“As the Nobel Laureate – Professor Wole Soyinka said. The Man dies in him who keeps silent in moments of oppression,” the statement added.

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