Contrary to popular belief, the Presidency has never ordered the dismantling of all military checkpoints along Nigerian highways.
The National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd), told PRNigeria after a meeting with top military and security officers in his office in Abuja on Thursday that President Muhammadu Buhari never ordered a blanket dismantling of checkpoints from the highways.
According to Dasuki, military roadblocks in flash points will continue to be maintained while those in relatively peaceful areas will be dismantled but soldiers will still be positioned in those areas while not blocking roads.
He said it is both conventional and a global practice for governments to increase security measures whenever insecurity is heightened and appealed to citizens to endure attendant inconveniences as they are temporary.
Dasuki said the essential security checkpoints in vulnerable areas are “necessary inconvenience” to ensure criminals and terrorists do not have easy passage.
He cited some arrests made recently, including that of a mastermind of bomb attacks in some towns, who were nabbed by Nigerian troops at such checkpoints.
While condemning indiscriminate proliferation of security checkpoints by unauthorised bodies, he said: “We will continue to ensure that the necessary or essential security checkpoints are not avenues for extortion, indiscipline and other forms of corrupt practices that can exacerbate traffic flow and cause road accidents.”
Dasuki added that the government is deploying new sophisticated scanners and detectors in some areas to ease traffic and to identify movements of strange objects, concealed weapons and criminal suspects.
“With effective use of technology, which minimises physical contacts between security personnel and citizens, the time spent at designated security checkpoints will ultimately be reduced,” he said.
He said whenever necessary, the soldiers will mount their points to conduct security screening in emergency situations and for quick response.