Comrade Prince Kehinde Taiga, vice president of Committee for the Defense of Human Rights (CDHR), has called on the Delta state commissioner of police, Hafix Inuwa, to call his men to order, saying the police officers on the road have converted their security jobs to money spinning business from poor Delta people.
Taiga is saying that police officers are enriching themselves on the road, arresting and collecting between N5000 and N10,000 from facemasks defaulters on the road, especially Warri axis of the state.
He said the fine imposed on nose mask defaulters by the courts is N3000 but the police, rather than taking the people to the courts, extort between N5000 and N10,000 from those who fail to wear the facemasks.
He said the police have capitalized on the 7pm to 6am curfew and the facemasks wearing put in place by the state government and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) as money making opportunities for men of the police force in Delta state.
He said a massive protest is imminent following the massive extortion of the police on the expressway. He said the police commissioner should call his men to desist from extortion, enforce the law and take the defaulters to the mobile courts established for that purpose.
He said besides the evil of extortion, by collecting money from the people, they are aiding and abetting non-adherence to the health protocols established for the protection of people against the coronavirus pandemic.
He, however, called on members of the public to obey the health protocols established by the health institutions, noting that the safety of the people lies squarely on strict adherence to the principles for safety.
He said Deltans who do not believe the existence of the coronavirus do so at their own peril. He said coronavirus is real and that all Delta people should protect themselves and follow the guidelines for safety.
On Sunday June 28, 2020, the NCDC released 84 new cases in Delta making a total of 912 in the state. The state governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, had earlier, on Saturday, warned that Deltans should adhere to the health protocols so as not to throw the state into bigger trouble.
He is worried that the number of cases in the state is growing geometrically, just as he expressed fear that the state, if the people are not careful, may become the epicenter of the virus in Nigeria. He advised that people of Delta should not see the figures being released as fake but COVID-19 is real and all Deltans should keep themselves safe.
In reaction to the claim of police extorting money from road users, the Delta state police public relations officer, DSP Onome Onovwakpoyeya, faulted Delta people for not wearing facemasks while on transit.
She told Emerald News that facemask has become part of our uniform as Nigerians following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. She added that facemask is only N200 and that everybody can conveniently purchase and use without stress. But some Deltans do not want to buy and use.
She also faulted the people for paying as much as N5000 to N10,000 to police for not wearing facemasks. She said rather than paying such money they follow the police to the station or courts.
The fine is only N1500 or community service. But she frowned at paying such money for not facemasks. However, she advised Deltans to always wear facemasks