The Defence Headquarters on Monday countered an allegation by Borno State Governor, Prof. Umaru Zulum that soldiers attached to Operation Lafiya Dole were in the habit of collecting bribes.
A statement by the Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Brig-Gen. John Enenche, reads: “The attention of the Nigerian Military has been drawn to the media/air accusation by the Executive Governor of Borno State, that Nigerian Army personnel deployed at check points in Operation LAFIYA DOLE collects money from commuters. While the Nigerian Military is in no way joining issues with the Governor, it is necessary to clarify this generalised statement against the troops who without hesitation lay down their lives for all Nigerians.
It is worthy of note that, the Armed Forces of Nigeria have internal mechanisms to check mate and sanction appropriately its erring personnel. Additionally, reported cases from the public in this regard are investigated and given the desired attention. Thus, it will not be correct to rely on media or open air accusation to tag our gallant Nigerian Army personnel as extortioners at check points in Borno State. All personnel of the Armed Forces are patriotic and focused on their call of duty.
The High Command of the Nigerian Military hereby re-states the commitment of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other Security Agencies to tackling and ending the insurgency and terrorism in the North East.”
The governor had made the allegation on Monday at a checkpoint on Maiduguri-Damaturu Road, where thousands of travellers were stranded because soldiers shut the road..
Some of the travellers told journalists that soldiers at the checkpoint were demanding N500 and N1000 bribes from them because they didn’t have the national identity card.
The governor said this development was quite unfortunate, given that the Federal Government had not created an enabling environment for Nigerians to receive the he cards.
He called the commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj-Gen. Olusegun Adeniyi, on the phone and expressed disapproval at the situation.
When the commander arrived, he trued to explain to the governor that the traffic snarl was caused by an earlier attack on the road.
Though he trued to defend the soldiers, this did not go down well with the governor.
Zulum eventually left the location in anger and moved with his convoy to the nearby town of Jakarna for an assessment tour.