By Oghenetega Kome
WARRI — Ahead of 2019 general elections, the Nigerian Army headquarters had ordered the dismantling of roadblocks mounted by soldiers across Delta State.
Checks by Waffi TV round Warri area revealed that the roadblocks at Main Market, Osubi-Orerokpe Road, and old NPA Warri-Sapele road had been removed, leaving behind relics of army presence.
No soldier was seen at any of the spots mounting security surveillance in Warri and environs.
Also, the roadblocks at DSC Roundabout and Okuokoko community that usually generate daily nightmarish gridlock had been dismantled with heaps of sand littering all over the portions.
Checks further showed that the army checkpoint at Mercyland Deliverance Minister along Warri – Benin express road had been dismantled, too.
Items usually used to partially block the roads include slabs of wood, metal drums stocked with sand and sacks of sand, and they were all in one ruined form or the other.
At these checkpoints,soldiers occasionally harassed motorists who receive calls on their phones when passing through the checkpoints. Overzealous soldiers had reportedly seized commuters’ cell phones and, at the extreme, beaten them up for “violating” the unwritten law on the use of phones at army checkpoints.
A cleric was, about three years ago, beaten up and his afro hairstyle forcefully shaved off, as a reprimand by soldiers at a checkpoint for receiving calls in his chauffeured car.
Confirming the new development, a senior army officer, who craved anonymity because he’s not authorized to speak to the press, said the visitation of the Army Headquarters to the area led to the development.
He said a security meeting was ongoing ahead of the 2019 elections and as such the Army Headquarters was rejigging and restrategizing the security apparatus.
The officer, however, disclosed that not all army checkpoints in the state were affected.