A security expert, Jackson Ojo, has accused police deployed in some
sections of the Benin-Ore Expressway of conniving with hoodlums to
attack motorists and passengers on the road.

Ojo, a fellow of the International Institute of Professional
Securities, told Punch.

The road came into the spotlight following the killing of Mrs. Funke
Olakunri, daughter of the leader of Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, in
the Ondo State section of the highway in July.

Ojo, a frequent traveller on the highway, said what he observed on
some occasions and the information he got from traders and villagers
on the road made him conclude that some of the police connived with
the hoodlums on the road.

He said, “I travel regularly on the Benin-Ore Expressway and I passed
through the road again last week. The policemen at a checkpoint at
Akinjagunla were not wearing uniforms, nothing to identify them as
policemen and they did not go there with any police van and they did
not carry arms.

“I stopped at Ore and I interviewed some hawkers and residents in some
of the villages on the road.

“Traders even said that if policemen were coming to that area known
for crime to combat criminals, they should be armed and have the
equipment to do the job. They said these policemen deployed on the
road would just come without wearing a uniform and that they would
stay at a particular spot.  They normally stay at a spot at
Akinjagunla along the expressway. They usually do not use police vans
or anything that can be used to identify them.

“I learnt that Ondo State asked the army to take over in the area but
the police have refused to leave the road. I interviewed more than 40
persons to get to know what was really happening. They all accused
police of conniving with the hoodlums. They said police would usually
leave the spot shortly before hoodlums would strike and dispossess
innocent people of their belongings on the road.

“I am urging the federal government to act fast and remove police from
that side. They should deploy soldiers there and police should come
only when normalcy has been restored.”

But the  Ondo State Police Command debunked the allegation that its
men were conniving with hoodlums to perpetrate a crime on the
expressway.

A spokesperson for the command, Femi Joseph, told Punch, “It is either
the person saying our men are conniving with the criminals is being
mischievous or trying to satisfy his paymasters.

“In the first place, has the person ever passed through that highway
in recent times to see how our men have restored normalcy to that
area. Or is he just an armchair critic, who will never see anything
good in whatever the police do?

“If he has found any of our officers engaged in any infraction,  has
he made any attempt to report them either to the command or Abuja? I
regard such a  sensitive  statement  from him as the ranting of a
debased mind and frustrated paid agent that is devoid of any scintilla
of truth.”

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