There are at least 16, 000 police personnel in Rivers State. Out of the 16, 000, over 10, 000 are guarding private individuals, banks, churches, politicians, university professors, captains of industries etc.
The remaining 8000, mainly ageing officers are either sleeping on duty or collecting their retirement benefits on the roads from commercial drivers.
One thought that with the coming of Usman Belel, the trend of police officers mounting roadblocks and collecting money from commercial drivers would come to a screeching halt. No! It has gone worse.
While cultists exchanged fire in Alakahia and Choba the other day, the police were busy collecting money along the East-West road. These were the trademarks of the Ahmed Zaki led police in Rivers State but it has sadly continued with Usman Belel.
What is tiring is even the brazenness with which these officers collect money from motorists and issue them numbers. All over the roads in port Harcourt, Police mount checkpoints where they collect money from tired drivers.
On so many occasions, several robbery incidents went on unchecked while officers were busy collecting taxes from motorists. This is another form of robbery that has remained unchecked. The Police which is taxed with protecting lives and property have in turn made life hard and made life cheap.
Several atrocities by the special anti-robbery squad remained unchecked. The police have also failed to stem the tides of cult-related killings in the state but they are busy on the road extorting motorists? How long will this continue?