Borno Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum has accused the Nigerian Army and Nigeria Police Force of extorting motorists on the Maiduguri/Damaturu highway.
He alleged that they took money from those who had no national identity cards at a checkpoint.
Angered by the situation, Zulum, who spoke at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Maiduguri on the Damaturu/Maiduguri highway where he met several stranded travellers said he had been told that travellers were stopped for not having national ID cards and were forced to part with money.
According to him, those who could not pay were “detained”.
Meanwhile, the Damaturu/Maiduguri road that has been seen as a relatively safe route connecting Maiduguri has recently become increasingly dangerous after Boko Haram had launched intermittent ambushes on security operatives and civilians on the highway.
Annoyed at the number of people he saw at the check-point on his way to Jakana, a town that was attacked by the insurgents on Sunday, Zulum in a raised voice accused security operatives of collecting money from the travellers.
“This is unacceptable. 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 travellers who don’t have a national ID card?”
“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 N500 and N1000 as a fine for not having what the Federal Government has not provided for all.”
Boko Haram: Governor Zulum clearly not happy with the military’s attitude. This is exactly what’s bordering commuters on the highway. pic.twitter.com/i0yd6GgH1a
— Habu Kale Tijjani (@Habuhk4) January 6, 2020
The governor later directed one of his aides to contact the Theatre Commander, Maj.-Gen. Olusegun Adeniyi, on the phone, who later arrived at the scene to defend his men but the governor insisted that the soldiers were taking bribes.
Zulum told the Theatre Commander that his allegations were true, having seen them and spoke with people to know the reason for extorting them.
Maj.-Gen. Adeniyi further explained that the gridlock was due to Sunday’s incident at Jakana but promised the governor to investigate the alleged extortion.
Leaving in anger, Zulum told the Theatre Commander: “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.”
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