Saturday, April 15, 2017
Fake ‘task forces’ take over Imo ... Imo people call on govt to come to their rescue
Terror appears to have returned to the streets of Owerri, the Imo State capital city, where various groups of uniformed young men purported to be members of government “task forces” waylay motorists and extort money from them.
They harass the road users, engage them in dangerous rat races, claiming that they have parked illegally or are obstructing traffic.
The groups, who operate in rented taxis, buses or tricycles, patrol the streets of Owerri in search of hapless victims to pounce on.
Their delights, according to Christian Voice investigation are visitors to the town who they feel are ignorant of their status or the laws of the land. These visitors who might be travelling long distances, would be ready to part with huge sums of money to be left off the hook.
The fake task force members often appear in vests of various colours to give themselves authenticity.
According to reports, they are often found on Mbaise, Wetheral, Okigwe and Douglas Roads.
One of their victims who is Christian Voice Managing Editor narrated his ordeal in the hands of the task force members, saying that they suddenly jumped into his vehicle once on Mbaise Road, accused him of wrong parking when he stopped for one of the staff members to alight.
According to him, the boy went for his wallet, demanding whatever he had, and collected an undisclosed amount from the wallet and left.
The Christian Voice boss said that he once again encountered them on Wetheral Road where he stoutly resisted them.
Another motorist, Mr Caleb Orji, also a resident of Owerri, narrated how he had stopped to chat with a friend on same Mbaise Road, only to be accousted by the “task force” men while he was still on the wheels.
He also parted with some money to placate the ravaging men.
He called on the government to put a check on these men as they are soiling the good works of Governor Rochas Okorocha in the state.
“No receipts are issued for the money they collect on the spot, indicating that it does not go into the coffers of the government, Mr. Orji said.
Several people including clergymen, professionals and visitors to the town have all been fleeced by these evil men.
Some of the men, according to reports, force themselves into people's vehicles, demanding receipts of one revenue or the other.
If the vehicle owner is unable to produce it, they try to intimidate him or her so that he would “settle” them by giving them money.