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Buratai orders probe into alleged extortion by soldiers

By Segun Olaniyi (Abuja)  and Tina Todo (Calabar)
01 January 2017   |   4:23 am
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, has ordered investigation into allegation of complacency and extortion against soldiers in Borno State. 

PHOTO: Al Jazeera

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, has ordered investigation into allegation of complacency and extortion against soldiers in Borno State.

A statement by the Director, Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Sani Usman, in Abuja yesterday said the allegation was trending on the twitter handle of a Nigerian called “Danborno” alleging that soldiers along Maiduguri-Gamboru Ngala road do extort truck owners.

According to the statement, each truck owner pays N300, 000 to soldiers for escorting them, which usually result to long queues along the road.

The statement reads: “The Nigerian Army has noted with great concern about an allegation of complacency and extortion against soldiers by someone with twitter handle called “Danborno” on Social Media, in which he alleged long queues of trucks along Maiduguri-Gamboru Ngala road, Borno State.

“Consequent upon this, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai has ordered for immediate investigation over these allegations.

“The Nigerian Army as a professional military institution thrives on discipline, selflessness and dedication to duty and operates within the confines of the laws, Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement.
“It would not tolerate any act of misdemeanour by any of its personnel. Similarly, we encourage members of the public to take advantage of our toll free telephone number 193 to report any observed lapses or allegation against any officer or soldier.

“We would like to also call on the members of the public especially affected individuals in Borno State to cooperate and volunteer information to the investigation team,” the statement noted.

Meanwhile, Retired Air Vice Marshal Eko Osim has said that Nigerians need to commend the military for sustaining democracy for these past years.

Osim who was the Guest speaker at the 2017 Eastern Naval Ceremonial Sunset at the NNS Victory in Calabar, noting that kudos should be given especially now.

“I saw the present day democracy and for the military to sustain democracy for this number of years, I think the country should give kudos to the leadership of that time and the present leadership.
“ Before, for flimsy excuses, our soldiers marched into the barracks in the name of being the messiahs, today, things have gone beyond that and the immediate leadership and the boys calm down to let it sort itself.’’

He also commended the Navy for being an exemplary leadership saying, “The Nigeria Navy, I must commend for keeping that heritage because what the military passed through several years ago eroded all what we inherited and all what we knew as one of the ethnic calls in the system.’’

Speaking to newsmen shortly after performing the ritual, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Rear Admiral Victor Adedipe, said the ceremony was an annual event to mark the end of the year in the Navy.