A cross section of Imo people have accused the Imo State Police Command and Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIOs) attached to the State Ministry of Transport, of conniving to extort, harass and intimidate motorists in the state in the guise of committing sundry traffic offences for which they are compelled to pay huge sums of money, not minding the prevailing harsh economic realities.

Some motorists who narrated their ugly experience in the hands of the VIOS and the policemen they work with expressed regret that the state government deemed it fit to unleash such insensitive and mindless extortionists who are only interested in milking the people dry without considering or listening to explanation no matter how worthwhile.

A motorist who operates along Owerri-Port Harcourt Road axis, said, on stopping a vehicle they brandish a list containing different offences and the amounts they attract respectively No matter how careful or law abiding you are, they must find one way or the other to indict you and ensure that you part with nothing less than #5,000 for an imaginary offence. For instance driving without first aid box attracts a fine of #10,000, cracked or broken windscreen attracts a fine of #5,000 while not wearing seat belt attracts a fine of #5,000. Having incomplete first aid box attracts a fine of #5,000, among others. A motorist is also expected to pay a fine of #20,000 for dangerous driving. This gives them the opportunity to extort motorists who are at a loss as to what constitutes dangerous driving

The disturbing aspect of this is that it is up to them to decide what constitutes dangerous driving. He wondered why the VIOs unleashed on Imo people by the Imo State Commissioner for Transport should be usurping the duties of the Federal Road Safety Corps FRSC in their desperation to extort money from traumatized motorists who are already suffering the menace of high cost of fuel, currency scarcity, extortion by traffic police men on the several road blocks on our roads where they collect tolls of between #100 and #200 per motorist depending on the number of passengers etc.

They called on the state government, to as a matter of urgency call the Commissioner for Transport who allegedly collects returns from the VIOs to order to douse the argument that he (Governor) has a hand in the racket’’.