Rights group, Human and Environmental Development Agenda, has hailed Borno State governor, Babagana Zulum, for condemning and rejecting the collection of fine by Nigerian Soldiers from citizens, who do not have or carry national identity cards in the state.
A video had gone viral on the social media capturing the governor reprimanding some soldiers caught in the act in the state.
Recall that the Nigerian Army had launched ‘Operation Positive Identification’ in 2019 in a bid to ending insurgency in the North-Eastern part of the country.
HEDA said the condemnation of the extortion by soldiers was a show of moral high ground and an act of responsibility and leadership quality on the part of the governor.
The rights group also commended the Nigerian Army through the Operations Media Coordinator, Col. Aminu Ilyasu, for saying that they would probe the allegation.
HEDA said its own findings from volunteers in the North-East had confirmed the position of the Borno State governor, adding that the Nigerian Army owes Nigerians the debt of making public its findings.
HEDA Chairman, Mr Olanrewaju Suraju, said, “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.
“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.”