Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum has accused security personnel of the Nigerian army and police of alleged extortion of travellers and motorists who do not have national identity cards.
Zulum made the accusation yesterday while travelling along the Maiduguri-Damaturu Road where thousands of motorists were stranded at three checkpoints, as security personnel shut them down.
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.
The governor, while speaking on top of his voice at the checkpoint, said: “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 N1,000 from poor travellers who don’t have 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 between N500 and N1,000 as a fine for not having what the Federal Government has not provided for all.”
The governor, who said that he had received several reports about the alleged extortion at Njimtilo Army checkpoint, therefore, asked his aides to call the Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj.-Gen. Olusegun Adeniyi, to come to the checkpoint where travellers and motorists were stranded for several hours.
The governor on his phone was heard saying: “Theater Commander, where are you? Right now, I am 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 travellers to move.
Some of the passengers said that they had been held at the gate for about 10 hours without any explanation to enter or exit
Maiduguri at the Njimtilo checkpoint.
A driver, Umaru Abba, said: “I left Damaturu since 9:00 a.m. and I arrived here at about 11:00 a.m. But here, I am being held for 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.”