Gov. Zulum Visits Closed Njimtilo Checkpoint {Video}

Accuses Security Personnel of Collecting Bribe At Njimtilo Checkpount
By Sadiq Abubakar, The Nigerian Voice, Maiduguri
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Governor Babagama Umara Zulum of Borno state said he has received several reports about the alleged extortion at the Njimtilo Oitskirts main entrance check pount into Maiduguri metropolis.

On Monday afternoon on his way to Benishielh town over alleged closure of the highway linking Maiduguri-Damaturu following a clash between the military and Boko Haram suspects directed his aides to call the Theatre Commander , Operation Lafiyà Dole, Major General Olusegun Adeniyi for intervention.

The governor was over heard on phone asking, “Theater Commander where are you? …Right now I’m at the checkpoint near state university and we have thousands of people stranded and your people are here collecting money from people because they don’t have National ID Card. Why?”

The governor then directed the security personnel at the gate to open the gates on both sides (exit and entrance) to allow all travellers to move.

Some of the passengers told journalists that they have been held at the gate for several hours without any explanation.

“I left Damaturu since 9 a.m. and I arrive here at about 11 a.m. But here I am being held till 3 p.m., ” said a bus driver who identified himself as Isa Adamu.

A woman travelling from Bauchi to Maiduguri said, “I was asked to give N500 because I don’t have ID card, but I had nothing to give because we passed the night in Damaturu yesterday, because the soldiers said it was late to proceed at about 5 p.m. And I spent all the money I had with me.”

However, General Adeniyi later arrived at the scene and tried to explain that the massive traffic hold up was not caused by soldiers at the checkpoint.

According to him, the hold up was “because of an attack that happened earlier in the day.”

He said " I would investigate the accusation to find out if it is true that soldiers have been extorting money from motorists and travellers at the checkpoint."

However, the governor insisted that it was true, saying, “I saw them with my eyes, I spoke with people that were asked to give money!”

The exchange of words between the governor and theater Commander deteriorated and resulted into an argument over other security matters before the governor left in anger for Jakana, a village 45 km away from where the Boko Haram attacked on Saturday.

“You must know that the government and people of Borno state are behind you and your men, but you must call your soldiers to order, you must check their excesses,” Zulum said.