"> Governor Decries Extortion by Soldiers - Sahel Standard
October 26, 2020
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Governor Decries Extortion by Soldiers

Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, has accused security
personnel of Army and Police of alleged extortion of travelers and
motorists who do not have national identity cards.


Zulum made the accusation Monday, while traveling along the
Maiduguri-Damaturu road; where thousands of travelers and motorists
were stranded at three checkpoints, as security personnel shut them
down.


The highway is relatively the safest access in and out of Maiduguri,
despite suffering repeated Boko Haram attacks recently.


On reaching the Maiduguri entry checkpoint, near Borno State
University, the governor met over 1,000 trucks and cars queued up on
both sides of road.


“This is unacceptable, “declared the Governor on top of his voice
yesterday afternoon at the checkpoint.
He further queried: “How can you subject people to this kind of
torture all in the name of National ID card? And you are all here
collecting N500 and N1000 from poor travelers who don’t have national
ID card.”


While a soldier was trying to explain, Zulum said: “No; this is not
right! The Federal Government has not created an enabling environment
for our people to get their National ID cards.


“And you are here collecting between N500 and N1000 as a fine for not
having what the federal government has not provided for all.”


The governor said that he has received several reports about the
alleged extortion at Njimtilo Army checkpoint.


Zulum therefore; asked his aides to call the Theatre Commander of
Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj-Gen. Olusegun Adeniyi to come to the
checkpoint, where travelers and motorists were stranded for several
hours.


On phone, the Governor on his phone was heard calling: “Theater
Commander where are you? …Right now I’m at the checkpoint near Borno
State University.


“We have right now thousands of people stranded and your people are
here collecting money from people because they don’t have National ID
Cards. Why?”


He consequently directed the security personnel at the Njimtilo gate
to open the exit and entry gates to allow all travelers to move.


Some of the passengers told reporters that they have been held at the
gate for about 10 hours without any explanation to enter or exit
Maiduguri at the Njimtilo checkpoint.
While narrating ordeals of passengers and motorist, Umaru Abba, a
driver said: “I left Damaturu since 9 a.m. and I arrive here at about
11 a.m. But here I am being held four hours.”


“I was asked to give N500 because I don’t have ID card, but I had
nothing to give because we passed the night in Damaturu yesterday.


“The soldiers told us; it was late to proceed by 5 pm. And I spent all
the money I had with me,” laments Adama Usman, a 45 woman at the
checkpoint.


Adeniyi rushed to the Njimtilo checkpoint and arrived and explain to
Zulum that; “The massive traffic holdups was not caused by soldiers at
this checkpoint.”


 According to him, the holdups of over 1, 000 trucks and cars vehicles
 was because of an attack by Boko Haram earlier in today along
Maiduguri-Damaturu road.


He assured the governor that the soldiers’ alleged extortion would be
investigated to find out if was true,”


Zulum, who appeared to be visibly angry with the delay of motorists
for nine hours, however said: “I saw the soldiers with my eyes. And I
spoke with people that were asked to give money ranging from N1,000 to
N500.”


The exchange of words between the Governor and Theatre Commander further
deteriorated as both men argued over other “uncomplimentary
security matters in public.”


He added: “You must know that the government and people of Borno state
are behind you and your men, but you must call your soldiers to order,
you must check their excesses,” Mr Zulum said.


The governor left in anger towards Jakana, a village 40 km from where
Boko Haram insurgents attacked last Saturday.

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