Posted by News Express | 26 September 2019 | 659 times
Travellers in commercial vehicles moving in and out of Maiduguri in Borno State, Damaturu in Yobe State and Yola in Adamawa State have alleged they are being extorted for failing to carry along their National Identification Cards for clearance at the entrances to the cities.
Specifically, travellers who do not have the National ID Card alleged that they were being molested even if they showed other means of identification such as voter’s card.
When contacted over the alleged extortion by soldiers in the North East, the spokesman of the Nigerian Army at the Army Headquarters Abuja, Colonel Sagir Musa, declined to comment on the issue.
He suggested that Daily Trust should contact the Army spokesman at the Theatre Command in Maiduguri.
In Maiduguri, our correspondent who went to some checkpoints on the outskirts of the metropolis, learnt that travellers have to pay at least N200 for their inability to produce, specifically, a permanent or temporary copy of the National ID Card.
A bus driver in Maiduguri said, “This practice has been in place for four to five years. A combined team of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) personnel and the military working at the entrance of this town have been collecting N200 from all passengers who cannot produce their National ID Card.”
The driver, who parked by the roadside at Jimtilo area, awaiting his passengers to do their clearance with some immigration personnel, said it was only the National ID Card that was being required for clearance.
He further said, “Any passenger who fails to produce the National ID Card must pay N200 at this checkpoint; whether they are coming in or going out of Maiduguri. Therefore, we have been experiencing delays on our journeys. “Because the authorities here insist on one type of identification card, which many passengers do not possess, and most of the passengers are unwilling to pay the N200 fine, the authorities will ask the drivers to offload all the luggage; which is very difficult and time-consuming.”
A passenger, Rebecca, on Bama Road heading to Gwoza Town in Borno, told our correspondent that she had severally paid N200 for failing to produce a National ID Card.
Rebecca said, “Since the road to Gwoza was reopened, I have been paying this N200 at some checkpoints till I reach Gwoza Town. I have two other ID cards, but they demand the National ID Card only, which I have not obtained.”
Our correspondent learnt that the Operation Positive Identification inaugurated by the Theatre Command of Operation Lafiya Dole (OPLD) did not specify the National ID Card as the only means of identification.
In a statement issued on Monday, the command spokesman of OPLD, Col. Ado Isa, said, “Troops are directed to strictly check legitimate means of identification such as National Identification Card, Voters Registration Card, Driver’s License and International Passport or other valid official identification before allowing people to pass.”
“Recall that based on credible information that some of the fleeing criminals are hibernating in some towns and villages of Borno and Yobe states in particular and the North East in general, the Theatre Command of OPLD enjoined members of the public to always carry valid means of identification such as National ID Card when moving or passing through Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.”
In Adamawa State, travellers said they had been facing difficulty since 2014 as security operatives at check points demanded for identification.
Soldiers and personnel of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) often stop motorists and ask passengers to show their National ID Card or voter’s card, it was gathered.
Daily Trust reports that at some check points, the checks are normally targeted at foreigners who are made to pay between N500 and N1,000 or are threatened with detention. (Daily Trust)
•PHOTO: A soldier checks the identities of people during the commencement of ‘Operation Positive Identification’ by the Theatre Command of Operation LAFIYA DOLE across the North Eastern part of Nigeria. PHOTO: DAILY TRUST.
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