The military officers stationed by the Murtala Mohammed Bridge Lokoja has devised strategies to extort from motorists. According to a source who spoke to us on condition of anonymity, the military officers have turned their duty post a money making machine by compelling drivers to part with between N500 and N1,500.
For commercial drivers whose passengers are sighted with handset on their hands while crossing the check-point, they’re compelled to pay N1,000 and in most cases, the handsets smashed.
Trailers carrying containers or other merchandise are made to pay between N1,000 or N1,500 depending on the size of the trailer and goods carried. Smaller vehicles conveying mostly agricultural produce are compelled to pay N500.
Without any prior warning, once any passenger is sighted with his handset on his hand while crossing the check-point, the driver of the vehicle is made to pay N1,000.
An eyewitness and a victim of military humiliation told us that so many passengers have been humiliated and subjected to inhuman treatment for mere holding their handsets on their hands while crossing the check-point.
The eyewitness who fell victim and had his handset smashed on the ground by one of the officers on duty recounted how without any notice given, a military officer swooped on him, collected his phone and subjected him to inhuman treatment after which he smashed the phone on the ground. The driver of the vehicle was made to part with N1,000 afterwards.
The passenger wondered why military officers will resort to such manner as a way of extorting motorists.
“If the officers feel holding handsets while on transit is wrong security-wise, the simple thing to do is to place a warning many meters away before the checkpoint ordering passengers to keep away their phones rather than extorting and humiliating people the way they do. I guess that is why none of their names were tagged on their uniforms, otherwise I would have petitioned the military authorities with details of the errant officers”
Our source appeal to the military hierarchy to call their men to order as Nigerian Military has reputation of decency and professionalism. He advised that the military should not allow the few officers who have betrayed that reputation to soil the reputation of the Force.