THE Nigerian Army on Tuesday, warned that the recent outburst by the Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, over alleged extortion of commuters and other people in the state by soldiers is counter-productive.
It said the action of the governor was capable of reversing the gains recorded so far in the fight against the insurgents and other criminal elements across the country.
The governor had accused the military and the Police of collecting bribe of N1,000.00 from travellers who do not have National Identity Cards.
But the Nigerian Army Operations Media Coordinator, Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, in a statement made available to journalists said, “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 on-going fight against insurgents and other criminal elements across the nation”.
The Army however promised to carry out a thorough investigation to establish areas where there were infractions and fish out any personnel indicted in the unwholesome act.
The statement read further, “the attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to an online publication as well as some amateur video clips circulating on some social media platforms.
“In the said publication, His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Borno State, Prof Babagana Umara Zulum was alleged to have accused soldiers of Operation LAFIYA DOLE deployed along Maiduguri – Damaturu Road of extorting commuters and causing them unnecessary hardship.
“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 by Nigerian Army troops will be duly investigated and culprits will be dealt with accordingly.
“However, 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 wishes to emphatically reiterate its steadfastness on the protection of lives, properties of all law abiding citizens as it is committed to wiping out insurgency in 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”.