The Nigerian Army has reacted to the allegation by the Borno State governor, Babagana Zulum, of extortion by Soldiers and Policemen deployed for security operations on the Maiduguri-Damaturu Expressway.
Governor Zulum levelled the allegation on Monday when he arrived at the spot and saw thousands of travellers stranded at the checkpoint manned by the soldiers and policemen deployed as part of Operation Lafiya Dole.
He accused the security operatives of collecting between N500 and N1,000 from those who did not possess identification cards.
Reacting to the Governor’s comment on Tuesday, the Media Coordinator of Operation Lafiya Dole, Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, said it was capable of reversing the gains recorded by the Army.
Iliyasu said in a statement: “It is important to unequivocally observe that public outburst particularly by eminent personalities such as a State Executive could be counterproductive and indeed capable of reversing the gains recorded so far in the ongoing fight against insurgents and other criminal elements across the nation.
“The Nigerian Army as a professional and disciplined institution views such allegations seriously, particularly coming from a State Executive.
“It is on record that, whenever such allegations of troops’ misconduct were made in the past, the Nigerian Army never reneged in conducting thorough investigations to establish them and where any infractions were established against any personnel, appropriate sanctions were applied in line with extant rules and regulations as provided for in the Armed Forces Act CAP A20 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.
“Thus, the Nigerian Army wishes to assure the good people of Borno State and indeed the nation at large that any allegations of misconduct against the Nigerian Army troops will be duly investigated and culprits will be dealt with accordingly.
“The Nigerian Army wishes to emphatically reiterate its steadfastness on the protection of lives, property of all law-abiding citizens as it is committed to wiping out insurgents from the North East and other forms of criminality across the country. Additionally, citizens’ continuous support and cooperation is highly appreciated.
“Any observed misconduct by troops could be reported directly through a toll – free code 193 for immediate remedy.”