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Military checkpoints resurface in Plateau

Nigerian soldiers man a check point in Gwoza, Nigeria, a town newly liberated from Boko Haram. (Lekan Oyekanmi, AP)

Jos – Military checkpoints in Plateau, which disappeared some weeks ago, have returned, the media reports.

The checkpoints had resurfaced in Jos, other towns, as well as major and rural roads in the state.

It was also observed that joint security teams, comprising fierce-looking soldiers and policemen, conducted thorough searches on vehicles, forcing a return of traffic gridlock that eased off last week.

President Muhammadu Buhari only recently directed that military checkpoints and road-blocks be removed from the highways, but a top source from the Special Task Force (STF) told the media in Jos that they returned to Plateau following an appeal by Governor Simon Lalong.

“The governor, after visiting the scene of last Sunday’s night bomb attacks in some parts of Jos north, had blamed the return of the blasts on the lack of mechanism to check the movements of evil people.”

“The absence of the military checkpoints has ensured a free flow of all manners of evil and I call on the President to order that they be restored in Plateau,” Lalong had said.

The media reports that before the governor’s appeal, Rep. Timothy Golu had also called on the President to restore the checkpoints in Plateau “especially in the rural areas.”

Golu had premised his stance on the relevance of the military to securing fleeing villagers, especially from night attacks.

He also argued that the military checkpoints were crucial to curtailing the movement of small arms and light weapons, and emphasised the need to secure the “hapless rural dwellers.”

“Some criminals are deterred when they know that they could be pursued by armed personnel at the checkpoints, but removing such checkpoints will ease their schemes and operations,” he said.

Contacted, STF spokesman, Capt. Ikedichi Iweha, said that the military checkpoints “never totally disappeared” at any time.

“The checkpoints did not disappear; we merely reviewed them and collapsed some of them for effective service delivery.”

“But, following what happened, I mean the bomb blasts and their aftermath, we resolved to restore the checkpoints to ease and quicken our response to situations.”

“You recall that miscreants took advantage of the blasts to engage in arson and looting. The Commander was of the opinion that such would have been averted if checkpoints were nearby.”

“So, he quickly ordered that the checkpoints be restored to respond much better to emergencies in and around the vicinities,” he said.


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