COVID-19 Lockdown: Nigerian security agencies ‘pocket N44bn from bribes’

Posted by News Express | 29 June 2020 | 2,914 times

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•Nigerian security personnel counting extorted money

Nigerian security forces and their chiefs are likely to have corruptly or criminally collected and pocketed total cash sums estimated at not less than N44 billion or over $120 million in the past 90 days or from 30th of March to 30th June 2020.

This is according to the Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law (Intersociety), as contained in the Executive Summary of a special report on the COVID-19 lockdown. Released this morning of Monday, June 29, 2020 in Onitsha, Anambra State, the statement was signed by Intersociety’s Board Chair Emeka Umeagbalasi; Head of Campaign & Publicity, Damaris Amaka Onuoha, Esq.; Head, Field Data Collection & Documentation, Comrade Samuel Kamanyaoku; and Head of Civil Liberties & Rule of Law, Obianuju Igboeli, Esq.

“Our investigation covered lands and borders and did not include railways, coastal lines, water ways and airports. The criminal sums were collected by the named culprits while enforcing intra and inter-state COVID-19 “prevention lockdowns”. Those directly or vicariously responsible for collection and pocketing of the bribes included officers and personnel of the Nigerian Army, Nigeria Police Force, Federal Road Safety Corps, Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps and Nigeria Customs Service.

“Officers and personnel of Nigerian Air Force and Nigerian Navy also got involved especially where they mounted roadblocks or were joined as members of ‘Joint Security Taskforce (JTF)’ and drafted to jointly man COVID-19 border post and boundary post security. The Joint Security Taskforces under reference are generally maintained across the country by various State Governments. Involved in the roadblock, boundary post or border post COVID-19 bribery and extortion were the civilian COVID-19 taskforces drawn from State or Federal Governments’ ministries of health and transport. At the State level, various vigilante groups represented by the ‘Vigilante Group of Nigeria’ also participated and are still participating.

“Therefore, from Defense Forces; soldiers of the Nigerian Army and officers and personnel of the Nigerian Navy and Air Force were all involved. From policing agencies; almost all departments of the Nigeria Police Force including ‘Border Police’, ‘Highway Police’, ‘Police SARS’, ‘Anti Cult Police’, ‘Anti Terror Police (CTU)’, ‘Anti Bunkering Police’, ‘Police Mobile Force’, ‘Police CID or Detective Police’, ‘Police Animal Division’ and ‘General Duties Police’, etc were all involved. From paramilitaries; officers and personnel of Federal Road Safety Corps, Nigerian Security & Civil Defense Corps, National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency and Customs Service were all involved. Excluded or not involved are officers and personnel of Immigration, Fire and Prisons Services; likewise officers and personnel of the intelligence agencies; namely: State Security Service, National Intelligence Agency and Directorate of Military Intelligence,” Intersociety said in the special report.

According to the group, “The grand total of the bribery and extortion across the country arising from COVID-19 border post, boundary post and roadblock security bribery and extortion is validly estimated at N44b or over $120m. That is to say that in the past three months of 30th March to 30th June, not less than N44b is validly estimated to have been criminally collected and pocketed. From border post extortion, it is N8b, N2.7b from the military roadblocks across the country; N7.2b from the Southeast, N6.5b from the South-south, N5.5b from the Southwest, N4b from the Northwest, N3b from the North-central and N2b from the Northeast. Included also is N4b arising from “bail fees” following mass and other unlawful arrests; totaling N44b or over $120m from 30th March to 30th June (tomorrow) 2020.  The N2.7b military roadblock extortion did not include criminal proceeds arising from military extortion at border post and boundary post COVID-19 security. In all, S/E takes the lead with N7.2b, S/S N6.5b, S/W N5.5b, N/W N4b, N/C N3b and N/E N2b.”

Intersociety called for “the end or scrapping of the so called “inter-state lockdowns” as they have become counterproductive and conduit pipe for the country’s security and law enforcement agencies and their chiefs-who are determined to continuously ‘recommend’ for their extension, as it is now “more extension, more billions in our pockets”.”

The group also renewed its call “on the authorities of the Federal Government of Nigeria to frontally address the chronic corruption and other service malpractices including abuse of power and brutality which have become almost intractable in the country’s security, defense and law enforcement or policing sector.”

“Nigerian Government must also end the long suffering of the Nigerian road users owing to the counterproductive and corruption prone interstate “lockdowns” and device better and result-oriented ways of preventing and managing the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Intersociety said.

Source: News Express

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