The Human Rights, Liberty Access and Peace Defenders’ Foundation (HURIDE) and Campaign for Democracy (CD), South East Zone, have asked Governor Chukwuma Soludo to immediately disband the Anambra State Road Management Agency (ARTMA) as it is currently constituted.
The groups also called on the Governor to constitute an ARTMA made of people with character who are professionally trained to do the work with a human face.
They also said that the present Commander of the agency, Nnamdi Emmanuel, should be flushed out and arrested for corruption for being behind the criminal extortion of road users in the State.
The rights groups in a statement made available to newsmen weekend said the disbandment of the agencys has become imperative to stem the tide of corruption, abuse, high-handedness and criminalities exhibited by the men of the agency against road users in Anambra State.
A statement signed by Dede Uzor A Uzor, Executive Director, HURIDE and Chairman, CD in the South East zone, the groups said the agency abandoned its statutory duty of managing traffics on the Anambra roads and engaged in abuse and exhortation of road users.
The groups said the state cannot set up an organisation like ARTMA purposely for profit motives, lamenting that their unconventional operation of just impounding vehicles and extorting money negates their statutory duty.
They said ARTMA remapped some major streets and roads in the State and made them one-way without adequate publicity to sensitise motorists and other road users.
“They cash in on the ignorance of the motorists that some places have been turned into one way to impound people’s vehicles and exhort huge sums of money ranging from N30, 000 to N100, 000 depending on the vehicle, especially Niger-under-Bridge,” said the groups.
Continuing, the group said “: If you introduce a new law and you publicise it so that the public will know about it. Don’t use it as a bait to impound vehicles and impose outrageous fines”.
Unfortunately, they said, sometimes these people lure drivers where to park, then they would impound the vehicle and extort and collect huge sums of money from their victims.
The group also frowned at the carrying of POS machines around by ARTMA operatives which they give their victims to transfer money from their bank accounts with white buses as a notorious most dangerous group
Most of the traffic offenders said the rights groups, were commercial vehicles but the operatives looked the other way and most times and go for private cars where they can exhort huge money.
Onitsha Owerri road is the most trafficked road but they look the other way because they were commercial vehicles.
They said one pathetic case was a private school bus, Promise International School in Onitsha which was impounded and detained for one week but was released after the payment of N22, 500. Dede Uzor fumed.