The Governor of Borno State, Prof Babagana Zulum has been commended for
speaking out on soldiers accused of consistent extortion of locals in the
North East where insurgents have recently relaunched their violent
In a statement in Lagos, the foremost Nigerian anti-corruption
group, Human and Environmental Development Agenda, (HEDA Resource
Centre) said Prof Zulum’s condemnation of the extortion by soldiers was
a show of moral highground.
HEDA commended the Borno State Governor for what it described as an act
of responsibility and leadership quality. Saying the action of the
Governor suggests great future expectations from him in the national
campaign against corruption
The rights group also commended the Nigerian Army through the Operations
Media Coordinator, Col. Aminu Ilyasu for saying that the Army would
probe the allegation.
HEDA said its own findings from volunteers in the North East has
confirmed the position of the Borno State Governor, adding that the
Nigerian Army owes Nigerians the debt of making public its findings.
Zulum was on his way to Jakana when his convoy observed a traffic
gridlock occasioned by soldiers and policemen attached to Operation
Lafiya Dole said to be extorting cash from motorists.
HEDA said the allegations of the Governor has reinforced widespread
public complaints about soldiers extorting locals in the troubled zones.
“We view this incidence with deep concern. When soldiers posted to
protect the people begin to take bribe from the same people they are
meant to protect, the implication is that such an armed institution will
lose public confidence which will lead to loss of public support. When
local cooperation is lost, there is no way the Army can win the battle
against terrorism”, the statement signed by HEDA Chairman, Mr Olanrewaju
HEDA said “We are monitoring the probe. We want to see the outcome of
the probe. HEDA volunteers in the North East have also been asked to
monitor the activities of soldiers on the highways to see if extortion
remains a pattern. If there are cases of further extortion, HEDA will
surely pass on the information to the appropriate authorities.”