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Why I lashed at soldiers extorting travellers-Zulum

Borno State governor, Babagana Umara Zulum has explained how he visited a security check point along Maiduguri-Damaturu road and why he openly condemned soldiers who were at the check point demanding extorting travellers.

The Governor said his visit to Auno where he  interfaced with soldiers on Monday afternoon was accidental and his reaction on the allegation of extortion level against soldiers at the check-points by travelers was spontaneous and intended to underrate military efforts in the war against Boko Haram.

The spokesman for the governor,  Isa Gusau in a statement on Tuesday explained that Governor Zulum had stopped suddenly at the check-point on his way to Jakana to visit the victims of Boko Haram attack on the town, adding that, “Governor Zulum’s encounter with security officials around Auno on Monday happened spontaneously. He was on his way to Jakana to meet citizens over a recent attack by insurgents. Going to Jakana required the Governor’s convoy passing through Auno. As someone who took oath to serve the people of Borno State under every situation, he could not drive pass the gridlock he saw around Njimtilo, hence he needed to step in.”

The statement said the governor appreciates the swift reaction of the Nigerian Army to conduct investigation into the allegation by some travelers, noting that, “Governor Zulum is very pleased with the swift action from the Army Headquarters and by implication, Headquarters of Operation Lafiya Dole. The decision to immediately investigate some conducts around Njimtilo in the course of (the absolute necessity to search vehicles for security purpose) only reaffirms what all Nigerians already do of the exceptional leadership style of the Chief of Army Staff, leadership of the theatre commander of Operation Lafiya Dole and many officers and men that have given so much in trying to find peace in Borno,”

He said the Monday encounter did not and “will not change the very high regard” the Borno governor has for all the security personnel operating in the state,  commending  soldiers for giving up their lives to ensure peace return to the state.

“The Governor recognizes all of these and the fact that the military needs and deserves his support and the support of all citizens. However, he also knows that civil-military cooperation will be better enhanced when certain conducts of few are addressed in other to preserve and protect the integrity of majority of security personnel who not only do the right things, but make the ultimate sacrifices of giving up their lives for Borno citizens while others abandon their families for months and years fighting at the front line,” he said.

The Nigerian Army had on Monday promised to conduct full investigation into the matter. The Maiduguri-Damaturu road is a major road which link Borno to other parts of the northern states and has been severally threatened by Boko Haram.

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