How Citizens of Southeast and South-South Nigeria Paid N306B ($1B) at roadblocks in 50 months •Full version of Intersociety’s Special Research Report

Posted by News Express | 17 October 2019 | 1,190 times

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Executive Summary

(Onitsha, 16th Oct 2019): The staggering sum of N306b or $1b (at official exchange rate of about N306 per US$) had been paid at gunpoint in the past 50 months or between August 2015 and Oct 2019 by citizens of Southeast and South-south or old Eastern Nigeria including Delta and Edo States to estimated 600 military and 6,300 police roadblocks in the two regions. The extra increase or additional N206b from our Dec 2018 research figure of N100b was as a result of extension of our field trip research to the South-south or Niger Delta Region where additional 400 military and 3000 police roadblocks were discovered and examined.

This is in addition to further increase of military roadblocks in the Southeast from 150 and police roadblocks from 3000, as at Dec 2018, to 200 and 3,300 respectively. The research, therefore, covered the eleven States of Edo, Delta, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Bayelsa, Anambra, Abia, Enugu, Ebonyi and Imo, covering August 2015 to Oct 2019 or total of 50 months. In our Dec 2018 report, only the five Southeast States of Anambra, Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo were covered and examined.

While the 6,300 police roadblocks illicitly collected N250b from Easterners, the 600 military roadblocks criminally took home N56b. The report further showed that average of N6.4b was illicitly collected monthly, out of the N306b and N76b yearly in the said past four years and two months. The N250b illicitly took by the Police constitutes over 80% of the annual budget of the Force, which is N300b or over 20% annually in the past four years at annual average of N61.5b. The forceful payments and their illicit collection took place between August 2015 and Oct 2019 at various roadblocks manned by not less than 34,000 armed personnel of the Nigerian Army, Navy, Air Force and Nigeria Police Force stationed on old Eastern Roads and other public arenas in the two regions.

The special report was built on our 2018 report which concentrated on Southeast. The latest referenced report is strictly concentrated on military and police roadblock extortion in the Southeast and the South-south and did not include police, military and other security custody based extortionist practices including “bail fees” and commercialization of criminal investigations. The report also did not include aviation (airport’s arrival and departure wings), waterway, railway and border extortionist practices by concerned security personnel as well as roadway extortion by paramilitaries such as Federal Road Safety Corps, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Immigration and Customs Services and the Nigeria Security & Civil Defense Corps, etc.  

Reasons For This Special Research Report

This special report further exposes the real motives behind incessancy of military build-up and police siege in the two regions. It will be recalled that August 2015 marked the beginning of militarization and police siege of Southeast and South-south regions. This took place barely three months after Mr. Mohammad Buhari, a retired army major general was sworn in as Nigeria’s sixth elective or civilian president on 29th May 2015. The report is also in response to the proposed military operations in Eastern Nigeria, code named: “Operation Python Dance IV” and “Operation Crocodile Smile IV”, scheduled for 1st Nov to Christmas Eve of Dec 2019 as well as planned flooding of the two regions particularly the Southeast with alleged greater number of “Federal Road Tollgates”.  This is even as it is found that 70% of all Federal Roads in Eastern Nigeria are a death trap.

Militarization & Roadway Robbing Of Citizens Of Eastern Nigeria Must End

The report restates the strong opposition by Intersociety to (a) militarization and police siege in Southeast and South-south, (b) targeted disruption through needless military operations (python dance and crocodile smile) and police siege, of socio-economic activities of the citizens of the two regions particularly disruption of their peaceful movements during Christmas and New Year festivities and deliberate entrapment on their fundamental rights to freedom of movement and religion

Others are: (c) seeming execution of ethnic and religious agenda in the two regions including deliberate gross lopsidedness in the location, composition, manning and management of key military and policing formations in the two regions, (d) brutal economic exploitation of the two regions and their peace loving and industrious people through series of unjustifiable and unwarranted war-like military and “internal security operations” and their attendant official roadway robberies and other corrupt practices, (e) needless, militant and provocative embarkation of the so called “Army Python Dance IV” and “Crocodile Smile IV” in the two regions.

The rest are (f) further threats to the lives and properties of the People of the two regions and militarization and radicalization of their psyches with “gun-culture mentalities and (g) planned flooding of the two regions with alleged greater number of Federal Tollgates and (g) acute neglect of the federal road, railway and aviation facilities in the two regions particularly the fact that 70% of the federal roads in the two regions are in deplorable, if not in acute deplorable state. Intersociety seeks for total accountability for the N306b criminally collected at gun point from the peace loving and defenseless citizens of the Southeast and the South-south and their collectors or perpetrators as well as an end to the age long systematic and well oiled criminal practices

How We Came About The N306B Roadblock Total Extortion Figure

Police Roadblocks In The Southeast: From Anambra State where N26.1b was illicitly collected from 250 roadblocks (August 2015-August 2016), 500 (August 2016-August 2017) and 800 (August 2017-Dec 2018), N7.7b, at average of N40,000 per roadblock daily was added from 800 roadblocks found between Jan and Oct 2019; totaling N33.8b in 50 months. Abia State recorded N22b from 200, 400 and 700 roadblocks under the same period at same N40,000 per roadblock daily, in addition to N7.7b from 800 roadblocks found between Jan and Oct 2019; totaling N29.7b. Under the same period, Imo, at average of N30, 000 per roadblock daily, recorded N16b while Enugu and Ebonyi, at N25, 000 per roadblock daily, recorded N10.5b each; bringing the grand total to N99.6b. Extra “dark figure” of N2.6b was added, landing the total to N102.6b for the Southeast in 50 months.

Police Roadblocks In The South-south: Delta State, at average of N40, 000 per roadblock daily for 450 police roadblocks found in the State between August and Dec 2018 or in forty months, N21.6b was illicitly collected and between Jan and Oct 2019 (past ten months), at same N40, 000 for each of the 600 police roadblocks found in the State, N7.2b was added, bringing the total to N28.8b. In Edo State, same N28.8b was illicitly collected in the same period as well as in Rivers and Cross River States with N28.8b each. The above named States possess high number of extortionist items including high volume of trade and road transport commercial activities as well as movements of oil and gas products and associated roadblock extortion. They are more of ‘blue-collar’ than ‘white-collar’.

But in Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa States, it was N30,000 for each of 350 projected police roadblocks in each of the two States, between August 2015 and Oct 2018; totaling N12.6b each. Between Jan and Oct 2019, additional N3.6b was illicitly collected by each of the 400 roadblocks mounted in the two States; totaling N16.2b each (N32.4b for the two States). The two States have lower extortionist items and bear semblance of relatively ‘white-collar’ status. In summation, therefore, it is likely correct to say that the projected 3000 police roadblocks in the South-south had illicitly collected total of N147.6b in the past 50 months or four years and two months. When this is added to N102.6b illicitly collected by 3,300 police roadblocks in the Southeast, the two totals come to N250b.

600 Military Roadblocks In Southeast & South-south Regions: The flat benchmark of N60, 000 per military roadblock daily was used. The N60, 000 illicit military toll benchmark used is strictly conservative and may likely raise to as much as N100, 000 per military roadblock daily which was why we added extra N7.5b as “dark figure” or a must include sum representing ‘untracked extortion”. In our Dec 2018 field research and report during which we found 150 military roadblocks in the Southeast, average criminal toll benchmark of N50,000 per roadblock daily was used and in the end, we found that the 150 military roadblocks then illicitly collected N7.5m daily, N225m monthly and N9b in 40 months or from August 2015 to Dec 2018. Since Jan to Oct 2019 (past ten months), the 200 military roadblocks found in the region must, therefore, have illicitly collected additional N3.6b at N60,000 basic per roadblock daily; bringing the total to N12.6b as having been illicitly collected in 50 months or since August 2015.

The figure of 600 military roadblocks was also used across board in the calculations. That is to say that in the past fifty months or between August 2015 and Oct 2019, at flat benchmark of N60, 000 per military roadblock daily, the 600 military roadblocks found in Southeast and South-south illicitly collected N36m per day, N1.08b per month and N48.6b in 50 months of August 2015 to Oct 2019. This further means that the 400 military roadblocks found in the South-south criminally became richer with total sum of N36b, collected between August 2015 and Oct 2019, at single sum of N60, 000 and total sum of N24m per roadblock daily and N720m per month. When added to N250b illicitly collected by the 6,300 police roadblocks in the two regions, the grand total comes to N306b or about $1b (using the official exchange rate of about N306 per US$). 

Extortion, Ethnic & Religious Soldiering & Policing Fuel Extra Judicial Killings In Eastern Nigeria

The combined effects of roadblock extortion, ethnic and religious soldiering and policing are also responsible for high rate of extra judicial killings, unlawful and extra legal executions, indiscriminate arrests, long captivity without trial, torture and disappearances. Cases of extra judicial killings and unlawful or extra legal executions are very high in the Southeast and the South-south particularly since August 2015. Multiple hundreds have fallen victims. Multiple hundreds have also been shot at close range, lacerated and incapacitated. Hundreds have disappeared without traces till date. Those tortured openly or in police and military custodies are in thousands; likewise those falling victim to indiscriminate arrests and long captivity without trial including victims of late night and leisure arena arrests.

As a matter of grounded statistics, dozens are killed at police and military roadblocks on monthly, if not weekly basis in Eastern Nigeria and thousands tortured including being inflicted with fragmented body wounds. Their killings or torture are strongly linked to collection at gunpoint of illicit roadblock tolls and refusal, inability or disagreements associated with them. In the area of ethnic and religious soldiering and policing, multiple hundreds have been shot and killed and multiple hundreds shot, lacerated and incapacitated. Hundreds have also been abducted and disappeared without traces till date. The victims include not less than 480 killed in Eastern Nigeria by the military and police between August 2015 and Sept 2017 and over 500 others shot, lacerated and incapacitated. Multiple hundreds have been unlawfully arrested and held in long captivity amidst torture, without trial. Most, if not all victims of the above highlighted crimes against humanity are unarmed and defenseless citizens of the South-south and the Southeast.

Techniques/Methods Used

Modern techniques in social research were applied in the course of this research. They include sampling techniques such as random sampling, field trips, monitoring and evaluation. Media reports (literature review) and series of interviews with the victim population (i.e. private car owners and commercial transporters including drivers of long lorries, tippers, SHUTTLE and L-300 buses as well as tricycle and motorcycle riders, passengers and roadway property owners and other road users) were also used. In modern social research, too, rooms are allowed for approximations, estimations and projections. These were applied where necessary in the course of this special research report.

Above all, Intersociety has also made a name especially in the monitoring and report of police and military roadblock and other forms of roadway extortion in Nigeria particularly in the Southeast. This feat even predates our organization and had been on since early 2000s when Chair of Board of Intersociety, Emeka Umeagbalasi, now a Criminologist and Graduate of Security Studies with a post graduate specialty in Peace Studies & Conflict Resolution, held sway as Anambra State Chairman of the Civil Liberties Organization.

Umeagbalasi also earned a field experience when he assisted a foremost US based Human Rights group, the Human Rights Watch when it conducted its own field survey on “Police Corruption & Human Rights Violations in Nigeria”  in mid 2010, leading to its international report of 17th August 2010. That is to say that Emeka Umeagbalasi and Intersociety have monitored patterns and trends of military and police roadblock and other roadway extortion since 2010.

Consequently, copies of the special report have been sent for follow-up actions to the Sec Gen of Amnesty Int’l, UK and the group’s Country Director in Nigeria and the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, USA. Other recipients are Prof Anthony Ejiofor, President of World Igbo Congress, USA, Prof Justin Akujieze, President of Ekwenche Research Organization, USA, Prof Uzodimma Nwala, President of Ala-Igbo Dev Foundation, Enugu, Barr John Nnia Nwodo, President-Gen of Oha-Na-Eze Ndigbo, Enugu; and Senate Minority Leader, Barr Enyinnaya Abaribe.

The rest are Dr Mrs. Joe-Okei Odumakin, founder, Women Arise, Nigeria and blossom friend of Intersociety, Mr. Peter Obi, former Gov of Anambra State, Mr. Oseloka Obaze, renowned diplomat and former SSG, Anambra State., Mr. Geoffrey Onyema, Minister of Foreign Affairs & (nominal) member, Nigeria’s National Security Council, Mr. Emeka Diwe, President, Association of Southeast Town Unions, Governor Dave Umahi, Gov of Ebonyi State & Chairman of the Southeast Govs Forum and Governor Seriake Henry Dickson, Gov of Bayelsa State & Chairman, South-south Govs Forum. Relevant rights and media bodies were also copied for their advocacy notice and further actions.

The latest report, therefore, followed recent field trips and investigations in the Eastern Nigeria conducted by Emeka Umeagbalasi, assisted by some research assistants led by Comrade Samuel Kamanyaoku. In furtherance of our policy of collectivism or teamwork, the report is co-signed by Lawyers Chidimma Udegbunam, Head of Campaign & Publicity, Chinwe Umeche, Head of Democracy & Good Governance, Obianuju Igboeli, Head of Civil Liberties & Rule of Law and Ndidiamaka Bernard, Head of Int’l Justice & Human Rights. Attached in this special research report are the Sampling Graphic Tables showing the number and locations of military and police roadblocks in Eastern Nigeria. Photos catching some perpetrators in the act are also attached. See the last page of this report for full details.

General Details Of The Report: Understanding Roadblock Bribery/Extortion

Extortion is the practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats. It is also the act of obtaining tangible benefit through coercion. In most jurisdictions including Nigeria, extortion, an element of corruption, constitutes a criminal offense and breach of service or professional ethics and codes. Bribery, on the other hand, is the act of giving or receiving something of value in exchange for some kind of influence or action in return, that the recipient would otherwise not offer.

Extortion thrives in a social setting with blue-collar culture or high cash carriage driven by voluminous commercial activities. It involves offering of cash payment usually at gunpoint or against the payer’s will and at behest of payee’s compulsion. Bribery, on its part, involves white-collar (wired or ‘unseen) and blue-collar briberies (receiving criminal cash offer). Military and Police Roadblock Extortion, therefore, is forcing motorists and other road users at roadblocks or checkpoints to pay imposed cash amount under duress or at gun point for purpose of covering crimes or personal enrichment or getting the recipient to offer no legitimate services in return.

Background

Intersociety’s field trip and research on Service Roadblock bribery and other forms of roadway extortion in Nigeria dates back to 2010. The field research was first conducted in the Southeast with Anambra State as a case-study and in the end, it was found that there were not less than 1,500 police roadblocks with Anambra and Abia States accounting for not less than 400 each; Imo 300 and Enugu and Ebonyi 100 each. The lower number of police roadblocks in the latter States was owing to their white collar culture.  The field survey was later extended to other geopolitical zones with findings showing the existence of not less than 3,500 police roadblocks, out of which, Southeast accounted for not less than 1,500 or 45%.

 

Consequently, on 11th December 2011, Intersociety released a report of its national investigation across the country including Southeast Region. The national investigation covered a period of two-and-half years; June 2009 to December 2011 and in the end, it was found that the not less than 3,500 police roadblocks had illicitly or criminally fetched the Force the sum of N53.4b. The geopolitical breakdown then indicated that the Southeast accounted for the lion’s share of N32.2Billion, followed by Southwest and South-south with N8.2Billion each; North-central N2.1Billion; and Northeast and Northwest with N1.2Billion each.

The national investigation was built on the international report of the Human Rights Watch, USA released on August 17th, 2010 (Everyone is in on the Game: Corruption & Human Rights Abuses by the Nigeria Police Force) in which Intersociety prominently featured. The naira benchmark used as criminal toll fee then was N20 note as against today’s basic of N50 and N100 notes. Most of the 3,500 roadblocks including many in the Southeast were then dismantled in January 2012 when retired IGP M.D. Abubakar became the IGP and made skeletal police roadblocks one of his major policy trusts.

Opposing The Use Of Roadblocks In Nigeria Including The East

It must be pointed out that roadblock extortion in Nigeria was first introduced by the Nigeria Police Force and the Nigerian Customs Service. Today, it has spread like wild fire and particularly caught the operational attention of the Nigerian Military including the Army, Navy and Air Force and Paramilitaries like Federal Road Safety Corps, Immigration, Nigerian Security & Civil Defense Corps, etc.

Use of ‘roadblock’ in the security of a country or for purpose of safety of lives and properties is very archaic and outdated. As a matter of fact, it is an attribute of a failed state or system. Roadblock is also synonymous with war ravaged countries or enclaves run by drug cartels or illegal mineral mining barons. Intersociety remains opposed to use of ‘military and police roadblocks’ in Nigeria or any part thereof.  This is more so when it is now “the more the roadblocks, the more the crimes against persons, properties and the state”.

Excluded

Excluded from this special report are (a) police and military custody extortion including police bail fees and illicit payments for recovery of impounded vehicles, tricycles, motorcycles and other seized personal belongings; ‘mobilization for arrest and criminal investigation’ or commercialization of criminal investigation and seizure, confiscation and possession of suspected proceeds of crimes including vehicles, cash and other juicy personal belongings, (b) roadblock extortion by personnel of Customs and Immigration Services, Drug Law Agencies and Federal Road Safety, the Nigerian Security & Civil Defense Corps, etc, (c) railway extortion by personnel of the Nigerian Railway Police, (d) marine water extortion including oil and gas related extortion by personnel of the Nigeria Marine Police and the Military including Nigerian Navy.

Others are: (e) border extortion by personnel of the Nigeria Police border patrols, Customs, Immigration, Military and Intelligence Agencies and (f) alleged over N10b, illicitly generated monthly by the Nigeria Police High Command for “Special Services” including ‘posting of senior officers such as CPs, AIGs and Unit and MOPOL Commanders’ as well as rendering of special protection or security services to oil firms, banks, multinational companies and VIPs-which are not reflected in the annual budgets of the Nigeria Police Force. Source: Senator Isa Misau (August 2017), a retired Deputy Police Superintendent and Senator representing Bauchi South District.

Included

Included in this special report are (a) sums illegally collected by roadblock police personnel from passenger-loaded tricycles, motorcycles, SHUTTLE and L-300 buses (N50-N100 each) and N200-N500 each if loaded with passengers and wares, (b) N2000-N5000 collected at ‘mobile roadblocks mounted by plain clothed police personnel from each of the victims of “wettin-you-carry”, (c) N3000-N6000 collected at police roadblock from each of the victims of “incomplete vehicular particulars” or “expired driver’s license” or “stolen vehicle”, (d) N10,000-N30,000 collected at police roadblock from each of the victims of “carriers of contraband” or “exhibits” including registered and non substandard drugs, (e) N50,000-N200,000 collected at police roadblock from each of the marketers of hard drugs such as Indian Hemp, Cocaine, Condeine and Tramadol as well as substandard drugs.   

Others are: (f) N200-N500 collected at Military Roadblock/Checkpoint from each Tipper Lorry or 911 Lorry or Daina/Datsun Truck or L-300 Bus or Tricycle loaded with wares (i.e. at Atani Road Junction Navy Checkpoint), (g) N1000-N2000 collected at Military Roadblock/Checkpoint from each Trailer or Container body loaded with wares, (h) N5000-N20, 000 collected at Military Roadblock/Checkpoint from each oil and gas Tanker-Trailer (i.e. along Owerri-Egbema-Elele-Port Harcourt Road and other roads linking oil and gas producing communities in South-south and Southeast), (i) N100 daily payment compulsorily imposed and collected from every tricycle, motorcycle, L-300 and SHUTTLE bus driver called “Ego Ndi Navy” or “Ego Ndi Army” (Navy or Army Money).

This is a routine at Atani Road Junction Navy Roadblock/Checkpoint, Onitsha Bridgehead Army Checkpoint and other major military checkpoints in the two regions. “Ego Ndi Navy” of N100 per day is also collected at Onitsha Upper Iweka and Onitsha-Owerri Expressway where they maintain roadblocks.  Such illicit sum is collected by civilian agents jointly raised by the Army/Navy and the leaders of the affected commercial transport unions with agreed commissions for leaders of the commercial unions,  (j) N3000-N5000 “sales spot Navy/Army approval fees”, collected once from each of the new roadside petty traders including mobile advertisers and ‘professional beggars’. This is the case at Onitsha Niger Bridgehead area including Atani Road and Uga Junctions courtesy of Nigerian Navy, which also collects N50 per day from every roadside petty trader and N1000 from anybody that crosses himself or herself or wares over the two major lanes of the Asaba-Onitsha Expressway.

The rest are (k) daily “loading permit fee” of N100 collected from every Tricycle/SHUTTLE Bus/L-300 Bus driver for loading at ‘rush hours’. This is also the case at Onitsha Niger Bridgehead area particularly at Atani Road Junction Navy Checkpoint/Roadblock, (l) N100 per “turn” collected indirectly in the day time and directly from 7pm by soldiers from every tricycle or motorbike or SHUTTLE bus or L-300 bus driver plying intercity roads or streets in commercial cities located in Southeast and South-south particularly Aba in Abia State.

Also included are: (m) “essential commodity daily returns” (involving tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of naira, as case may be, for each of the military checkpoints per day). This is perpetrated by each of the Military Checkpoints located close to arenas where such commodities are mined or excavated or extracted. These include oil and gas, gravels, stones, red and river sands and other solid minerals or industries producing “special products”. A typical example is the river sand excavators along Atani-Ogwuikpere Road in Ogbaru and Niger Street in Onitsha where agreed returns are paid on daily or weekly basis to the Ogbaru Naval personnel and possibly the Army. Disagreement over same led to public protests by the payers in 2018.

Southeast & South-south Have Become Headquarters Of Military & Police Corruption

Going by our recent field research findings, it is an established fact that the two regions are now the ‘headquarters of military and police corruption’ in Nigeria, accounting for 60%, if not more, of non-bureaucratically generated corruption proceeds. Of the two regions, too, Southeast is the largest generator of commerce related corruption proceeds for the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Police Force, while South-south emerges as the largest generator of oil and gas land conveyance corruption proceeds. Till date, the two regions are the most peaceful and not in a state of war, yet ulterior reasons including false security alarms and service created artificial insecurity have steadily been hidden under by the country’s lopsidedly composed security providers as excuses to lay military and policing siege on the two most peaceful regions in Nigeria.

The citizens of the two regions, both sedentary and pastoral are also the largest sources of Military and Police roadblock or commerce related corruption proceeds in Nigeria. That is to say that the largest sources of Military and Police roadblock or checkpoint corruption proceeds come from citizens of Southeast and South-south living and doing business including trade and transport businesses in Southwest, Northeast, North-central including FCT and Northwest regions of Nigeria. These corruption proceeds and their practices are hardly checkmated or tracked or linked to government office corruption in Nigeria. The sharp practices are rigidly syndicated and scholarly called “police and military returns culture” or police and military roadway corruption in Nigeria.

Generally speaking, Military and Policing custody and roadblock generated corruption proceeds are the largest in Nigeria, followed by ‘service welfare’, ‘capital budgetary’ and ‘special intervention funds allocation’ corruption proceeds; otherwise called ‘bureaucracy (white-collar) corruption’. It is generally estimated that through the former or blue-collar corruption proceeds, not less than N300b is illicitly collected by the Nigeria Police Force from Nigerians across the country on annual basis. This runs neck to neck with the total annual police budget of N300b.

As noted somewhere above, the focus of this research is the Military and Police roadblock extortion and did not include six other forms of service blue-collar corruption, generally described as ‘custody’ and ‘special services’ related corruption. The third largest Military and Police corruption proceeds come from corruption associated with rendering of ‘special services’ to oil and gas firms, banks, multinational companies and VIPs, which are never reflected in the annual police or military budgets.

Ethno-Religious Dimension Of Corruption Breeding Military & Police Siege In Eastern Nigeria

The military and police siege in Southeast and South-south Nigeria including Delta and Edo States is long found to have strong ethno-religious influence particularly since August 2015. This is clearly evidential in our recent field research work where it was found that ‘out of 73 top military and policing commanders manning top military and policing formations in Eastern Nigeria, only eight are from the two regions; with the remaining 65 coming from Muslim North and Southwest and few non Muslim others from outside the two regions’. The research also found such formations including their roadblocks or checkpoints being made to wear the look of “Islamic security forces of Nigeria stationed in Eastern Nigeria” including conversion of most, if not all the military roadblocks or checkpoints in the two regions into ‘Islamic praying grounds or mobile mosques’.

Fulani Settlement Increases In Eastern Nigeria Through Military Siege & Python Dance

The ethno-religious dimension to the corruption breeding military siege in Eastern Nigeria including the so called ‘Army Python Dance IV’ for Southeast and ‘Army Operation Crocodile Smile IV’ for South-south;  scheduled for Nov to Christmas Eve of Dec 2019 is strongly and widely suspected to be driven by ulterior motives. Apart from the handling styles of the military exercises being ethno-religiously lopsided and enmeshed in corruption, concerns are further rife that one of the ulterior motives behind such exercises is creation of new settlements for Fulani Herdsmen from which jihadist elements among them cash in to attack, kill, maim, abduct, rob, extort, rape and torture defenseless indigenous citizens of Eastern Nigeria including travelers, rural dwellers, businessmen and businesswomen, priests, farmers, women and children.

From our various investigations, it is likely safe to conclude that each time a military ‘python dance’ exercise is carried out in the Southeast or during ‘operation crocodile smile’ in the South-south, new settlements for Fulani Herdsmen are created. This is more so when it was strongly alleged that the Nigerian Army had in late 2015 carried out ‘forest mapping’ exercise throughout Nigeria, arming itself with data pertaining to number and locations of forests across the country’s six geopolitical zones. “Counterinsurgency measures” was reportedly cited as reasons for the mapping exercise. But contrarily, our case in point is the Asa-Ogwe Forest and its Fulani settlement, located in Umu-Ura Village of Ogwe Community in Ukwa West LGA of Abia State. It is widely feared that by the end of the “Army Python Dance IV” and “Crocodile Smile IV” in the two regions, 100 new Fulani settlements are likely to be created with additional 100 permanent military checkpoints or roadblocks to protect them.

We had in August 2018 made a trip to the area following discovery of over 30 decomposed bodies strongly believed to be defenseless citizens of old Eastern Nigeria arrested and secretly killed by soldiers of 144 Battalion, Asa, then commanded by Lt Col Umar Sidi Kassim and Brig Gen Abdulkalifah Ibrahim (then Brig Commander, 14 Brigade, Ohafia). The victims were strongly suspected to have been secretly killed and dumped during the Army ‘Python Dance 11’ in Sept 2017 in Abia State. The forest specifically located in Umu-Ura Village, was discovered to have a new Fulani settlement surrounded by two Army Checkpoints/Roadblocks (one is the Ugwuachi Army roadblock very close to or about 500 meters from the forest and the second one is the Asa main Army checkpoint, which is about 1.2killometers from the forest and its new Fulani settlement).

Generally, both old and newly created Fulani settlements in Eastern Nigeria particularly the Southeast are located near major military or police formations such as MOPOL and SARS squadrons and military roadblocks or checkpoints. The pattern is the use of such military operations to create them with new military roadblocks or checkpoints erected to permanently protect them; to the extent that such newly created roadblocks are left or stationed permanently at the end of the said military operations.

It is estimated that not less than 50 new Fulani settlements are likely to be created in the Southeast at the end of the proposed “Army Python Dance IV”; thereby further increasing the number of military roadblocks in the region. It is our projection that 50 additional military roadblocks are likely to be created in the South-south with possibility of creation of another 50 new Fulani settlements in the region, using ‘Operation Crocodile Smile IV’.  Fulani grazing activities under military surveillance are also a routine around such military roadblocks or checkpoints in the two regions. We sighted at least two near military checkpoints mounted by Nigerian Army and Navy along Elele-Port Harcourt Road when we visited on 27th August 2019.

Patterns Of Military & Police Extortion In Eastern Nigeria

In addition to different forms of roadblock collection highlighted above, for  today’s soldiers and other members of the Nigerian Military mounting roadblocks and extorting money from commercial drivers and other road users on Southeast and South-south roads, the basic is N500-N1000 from every victim driver. For trailer drivers of oil and gas, it is N5, 000 and above for every driver per roadblock and for those involved in oil and gas theft, it is between hundreds of thousands of naira and above N1m for each military taskforce or squad.

The least amount collected by roadblock police personnel is N50 or N100 per victim. Passengers with loads attract N200-N500 per victim. For police anti cult, terrorism, kidnap and robbery at roadblocks, the least is N100-N200 per victim; and tens of thousands of naira if a victim is falsely accused and arrested and he or she, against his or her will, opts for random “settlement”.

Method Of Collecting Roadblock Bribes In Eastern Nigeria

Method of collection varies. At Atani Road Junction Navy Checkpoint and Onitsha Niger Bridgehead Army Checkpoint as well as Isiala-Ngwa and Osisioma Army Checkpoints and Owerre-Nta Naval Checkpoint in Abia State, direct and indirect civilian agents are recruited and used. Direct civilian agents are those armed with sticks or planks or used metals and stationed in front of such military checkpoints or roadblocks or few meters away from them. They block the victim drivers and their vehicles loaded with wares and issue them facial threats, forcing them to part with specified amounts. Those who refused or delayed in payment will have their vehicles and wares impounded by the roadside with their tyres leaked until they “settle”. They also run high risk of being frog-jumped or meted with other forms of torture so as to compel them to “pay”.

This mode of collection is the case in many Army and other military roadblocks particularly those located in densely populated urban cities including Port Harcourt, Benin, Asaba, Warri, Uromi, Agbor, Ugheli, Ekpoma, Uyo, Ogoja, Abakiliki, Afikpo, Umuahia, Yanagoa, Calabar, Enugu, Owerri, Onitsha, Elele, Okigwe, etc. Also hired direct agents are those who mount surveillance by roadside to monitor the passing of trailers and other long Lorries loaded with wares or products including oil and gas. Drivers of such long Lorries, in order to avoid troubles with the military personnel, alight and locate the civilian agents, part with N1000 and above for each trailer before continuing their journeys. This form of extortionist collection is also common tactics in some cities mentioned above.

For indirect civilian agents collecting bribes including “returns” and extortion proceeds for the military on Eastern Nigerian roads, they involve those working for the victim commercial transport unions or associations such as river sand tippers’ drivers’ associations or river sand excavators associations or oil and gas tankers’ drivers associations or local city commercial bus or ‘Keke’ drivers’ unions, etc. They are charged with responsibilities of retiring the agreed daily or weekly or monthly “returns” to the Army or Navy points-men. All the agents collect their “commissions” at the end.

Another form of extortion and its pattern common among the military personnel at roadblocks is “event security” involving soldiers or other military personnel stationed at military checkpoints being hired to maintain presence at wedding, traditional marriage, naming and funeral ceremonies and other special outings. Between N100, 000 and N200, 000 is usually charged per function. Cases also abound where soldiers and other military personnel at roadblocks illegally get hired and paid for purpose of debt recovery or intervention in marital, family and business disagreements. In places like Aba metropolis presently flooded with not less than 28 Army roadblocks, soldiers indirectly (through civilian agents) collect bribes from commercial motorists and operators of commercial motorcycles and tricycles in the day time and collect directly once it is 7pm and above. Recall that a middle-aged citizen was recently shot dead by a soldier in Aba over his refusal to part with N100 roadblock bribe.

For Nigeria Police Force, direct or open collection is rampantly used. They also “give change” no matter the amount. In some places, “numbers” are given to payers in coded form to avoid being forced to pay doubly. There are some cases where police personnel at roadblocks engage in ‘indirect collection’ of roadblock bribes. This is usually the case along Owerri-Egbema-Elele-Port Harcourt Road, Asaba-Ozoro-Ugheli-Warri Road and other ‘juicy’ police roadblocks including those located at boundary posts and “contraband” routes. At such police roadblocks, the victim drivers usually alight from their vehicles, locate the designated officers, part with huge sums before continuing their journeys.

Why Military & Police Roadblocks Are Juicy In Eastern Nigeria

There are five major types of military and police roadblocks or checkpoints in Eastern Nigeria; namely (1) roadblocks mounted on Federal or Trunk A Roads, (2) roadblocks mounted on State or Trunk B Roads, (3) roadblocks mounted on Local Government/Community or Trunk C Roads, (4) roadblocks mounted on Urban city Streets and Intercity Roads and (5) roadblocks mounted on key public or private facilities or monuments usually converted to scenes of military and police extortion.

There are also permanent and mobile or “appear-and-disappear” police roadblocks. The former are mounted by the military and police mobile squads and highway, “anti bunkering” and “anti terrorism” “special” squads while the latter are mounted by police special anti robbery, operational patrol teams and General Duty police personnel of various police area, divisional commands and posts.  Police roadblocks also go with “peak” periods and “juicy” routes or arenas which attract more number of roadblocks.

 

“Oil and gas” and “contraband routes” usually attract high number of police and military roadblocks; likewise “blue-collar” routes or routes noted for high presence of commercial activities including commercial road transport activities. For instance, one of the shortest federal road distances in Eastern Nigeria is Owerri-Umuagwo-Egbema-Elele-Port Harcourt Road with not more than one hour journey. We counted 44 roadblocks on 29th August 2019, out of which 10 are military roadblocks (34 were mounted by police) by Army and Naval personnel. Another is Asaba-Kwale-Ozoro-Ugheli-Warri Road where we counted 25 roadblocks on 16th August 2019.

Generally, it is found that on urban city and intercity roads or streets in places like Aba, Onitsha, Nnewi, Enugu (commercial trade and transport parts), Abakiliki (same), Umuahia (same), Okigwe, Afikpo, Awka (same), Owerri (same), Orlu, Nsukka, Port Harcourt, Asaba, Benin, Uromi, Ekpoma, Ugheli, Warri, Agbor, Uyo (same), Yanogoa (same), Ogoja, Calabar (same), etc; extortionist police roadblocks are generally maintained but increase doubly during “rush” or peak morning hours and end of business peak evening hours.  

The increase is fueled by “peak” morning hour and “peak” evening hour erection of roadblocks by “appear-and-disappear” roadblocks mounted by General Duty personnel and operational patrol teams of various police area commands, anti cult and robbery,  divisional commands and police districts and posts. Every area command, division, post and district of the Nigeria Police Force in Eastern Nigeria now erects or mounts roadblock, strictly to extort.

On Trunk A (federal) and Trunk B (state) Roads, “rush”, “peak” and “juicy” hours for extortionist police roadblocks are divided into 6am-10am in the morning and 3pm to 8pm in the evening. In community roads or rural areas, “juicy hours” for extortionist police roadblocks is the day of their weekly markets. In the “oil and gas”, “contraband” and blue-collar routes, the volume of military and police roadblocks is very high and steadily maintained 24hrs daily.  It was also found that the most “lucrative” of the military and police roadblocks are those located in ‘oil and gas” and “contraband” routes, followed by the urban city and intercity extortionist police roadblocks, and those located at inter-state boundaries. The poorest extortionist police roadblocks are those located in rural areas targeting local transporters and petty traders on days of their community markets.

It is further found that police roadblocks are scanty or totally absent in road routes abandoned by motorists and other road users on account of being in acute deplorable conditions or hit by incessant attacks by jihadist Fulani Herdsmen. The scanty police roadblocks presently found along Awka-Oji River-Enugu Expressway are as a result of deplorable condition of the Road. Ayamelum-Adani-Nsukka old Federal Road presently maintains near-total absence of police roadblocks particularly the Enugu side of the Road following incessant attacks by jihadist Fulani Herdsmen. Those roads in bad shape which are still well used by transporters and other road users still attract high presence of police roadblocks, with reverse being the case once abandoned by motorists. It was also found in the course of our recent field trips that 70% of federal roads in Eastern Nigeria are a death trap.

Number Of Military & Police Roadblocks In Eastern Nigeria

High presence of extortionist Military and Police roadblocks is found or recorded on the following federal roads: Enugu-Onitsha (Express), Onitsha-Awka-Oji/River-Enugu (Old Road), Enugu-Nsukka-Oturkpa, Enugu-Abakiliki, Abakiliki-Ogoja, Onitsha-Owerri (Express), Onitsha-Nsugbe-Adani (Old Road), Atani-Ogwuikpere-Ndoni, Enugu-Umuahia-Port Harcourt, Oba-Nnewi-Okigwe, Owerri-Umuagwo-Egbema-Elele-Port Harcourt, Abakiliki-Abaomege-Ugep-Calabar, Abakiliki-Mbork-Ogoja and Aba-Akwa Ibom, etc.

State Roads with high presence of extortionist police or/and military roadblocks include: Osisioma-Aba-Isiala-Ngwa-Umuekah-Owerri, Okigwe-Orlu-Owerri, Aba-Ikot-Ekpene, Uturu-Okigwe-Abakiliki, Ekwuluobia-Oko-Ibinta, Umuahia-Ariam-Ikot-Ekpene, Umuahia-Obowo-Owerri, Umuahia-Bende, Igbo-Ukwu-Ezinifite-Uga-Umunze, Oba-Nnewi-Nnobi, Amawbia-Nise-Agulu-Ekwulobia-Uga, Nnewi-Nnobi-Orakwu-Agulu, etc. In the South-south, the list endlessly includes Asaba-Kwale-Ozoro-Ugheli-Warri, Agbor-Auchi-Okene, Igbanke (Igbo-Akiri)-Agbor-Asaba, Ore-Okada-Benin-Abudu, Ogoja-Otukpo, Mbork-Ogoja, Port Hacourt-Yanagoa, Calabar-Uyo, etc.

We Counted 168, Out Of 600 Military Roadblocks In Eastern Nigeria

During our recent field trips in Southeast and South-south regions, between August and October 2019, for purpose of gathering sampling statistics, we counted not less than 168 military roadblocks. They were mounted and are still mounted by personnel of Nigerian Army, Navy and Air Force. From open-source and reliable service-information gathered including interviews, pictorial analysis, fact-finding, credible independent media and rights reports, etc, there are average of 55 military roadblocks per State and total of 600 in the eleven States that make up old Eastern Nigeria including Delta and Edo States; out of which we counted 168. There are also average of 570 police roadblocks per State and total of 6,300 in the eleven States of the two regions, out of which we counted not less than 700.

As represented in the sampling graphic tables attached, we counted fourteen military roadblocks on Aba-Port Harcourt Road; seventeen on Umuahia-Enugu-Abakiliki Road, twelve on Abakiliki-Abaomege-Ugep-Calabar Road, nine on Okigwe Junction-Abakiliki Road, nine on Abakiliki-Mbork-Ogoja Road, twenty-seven on Aba-Akwa Ibom-Calabar Road, ten on Osisioma-Aba-Isiala-Ngwa-Umuekah-Owerri Road, five on Atani-Ogwuikpere Road, ten on Onitsha Niger Bridgehead-Awka-Enugu Road, six on Onitsha-Owerri Road, six on 9th Mile-Nsukka-Otukpo Road, ten on Owerri-Umuagwo-Egbema-Elele-Port Harcourt Road and four on Asaba-Kwale-Ozoro-Ugheli-Warri Road.

There are not less than 28 military roadblocks in Aba metropolis. They were counted when we visited on Saturday, 12th Oct 2019. The field trip was between the “peak” evening hours of 4pm and 5.30pm. The spots where they were mounted included (1) Osisioma Port Harcourt Highway, (2) Ariaria Market Junction, (3) Osisioma Depot/Ekeakpara Market, (4) Osisioma-Aba-Owerri Road, (5) Umuojimma Village, (6) Urata Junction, (7) Seven Decks/Faulks Road, (8) MCC Road, (9) Abia Poly/Brass Road, (10) Okpu-Umuobo Road by Ama Double, (11) Ahiankwo Village Market, (12) Umuogele Road, (13) Aba Mosque by School Road, (14) Ngwa Road by Ahia-Ohuru, (15) Alaoji Market, (16) Aba-Port Harcourt Road, (17) Obikabia Junction, (18) Bata Junction, (19) Ohanku-Owerri Road, (20) Aba Park, (21) Azummini-Opobo Road, (22) Glass Force, (23) Seven-Up/Glass Industry, (24) Opobo Junction, (25) Umu-Eze Road by Primary School, (26) Umu-Imo, (27) Ohanze and (28) Onicha Ngwa.

In some, a military team mounting roadblock can split into two or three targeting the ‘returning’ and ‘traveling’ road users and transporters. The number above is just a graphic sampling and did not capture all the military roadblocks in the two regions including those along Ore-Okada-Benin-Agbor-Ibusa (Igbo-Uzo) and Agbor-Uromi-Auchi-Okene Federal Roads, etc.

From available facts, therefore, there are not less than 600 military checkpoints or roadblocks in Eastern Nigeria including Delta and Edo States; out of which, not less than 400 are located in the South-south and 200 in the Southeast. The higher number of military roadblocks in the South-south is majorly owing to oil and gas and their “juicy” extortion while that of Southeast is majorly attracted by high volume of commercial activities and associated blue-collar crimes such as service roadblock extortion and service custody criminalities. Deployment of military and police and their siege on Southeast and South-south are also done and syndicated for purpose of execution of ethnic and religious agenda.

We Counted Over 700, Out Of 6,300 Police Roadblocks In Eastern Nigeria

We counted not less than 700, out of 6,300 police roadblocks, projected to exist in the two regions. They included nineteen on Aba-Port Harcourt Road, twenty-six on Umuahia-Enugu-Abakiliki Road, twenty-two on Abakiliki-Abaomege-Ugep-Calabar Road, twenty-five on Port Harcourt-Yenagoa Road, eleven on Okigwe-Abakiliki Road, seven on Abakiliki-Mbok-Ogoja Road, twenty-two on Aba-Akwa Ibom-Calabar Road, twenty-eight on Osisioma-Aba-Isiala-Ngwa-Umuekah-Owerri Road, thirty-four on Owerri-Umuagwo-Egbema-Elele-Port Harcourt Road, twenty-four on Asaba-Kwale-Ozoro-Ugheli-Warri Road.

Others are thirty on Onitsha-Owerri Road (from Electrical Market to Owerri), seventy around Onitsha Niger Bridgehead-Upper Iweka and environs including Owerri Road to Electrical Market, Obodo-Ukwu Road, Borromeo Roundabout, Peace and Abuja Parks, seventy from other parts of Onitsha metropolis, one hundred and fifty in Aba metropolis, one hundred from Ore-Okada-Benin-Agbor-Issele-Ukwu-Asaba Expressway to Asaba end of the Niger Bridgehead, forty on 9th Mile-Nsukka-Obolo-Afor-Otukpo Road, twenty on Nkpor-Awka-Enugu Expressway and Awka-Oji River-Enugu old Road and thirty on Agbor-Uromi-Auchi-Okene Federal Road; totaling 728.

There Are Likely 3,300 Police Roadblocks In Southeast & 3,000 In South-south

Presently, there are likely to be as much as 3,300 police roadblocks in the Southeast and 3000 in the South-south. The increase in the number of police roadblocks in the two regions was originally fueled by violent crackdowns on street protesters particularly by members of the Indigenous People of Biafra and their supporters. The sharp increase started way back in August 2015 and has skyrocketed since then. “Election” is another reason that fuels the sharp increase as well as quest for criminal proceeds fueled by “oil and gas” exploration and movement in the Niger Delta.

There were additional deployment and erection of at least 500 police roadblocks in the South-south for purpose of controversial general elections of 2019. Prior to the said poll, total number of police roadblocks in the region was projected at 2,500. Other ulterior reasons used in flooding old Eastern Nigeria with tens of thousands of armed military and police personnel are “IPOB terrorism” and “protection of national security interest” and “terrorism”. Lately, it has been strongly suspected that a key under-cover reason fueling such militarization and siege is likely to include possible aiding of ‘pro jihadist Fulani Herdsmen agenda’, done under different names such as “RUGA”, “Rural Livestock Settlement”, “Military Ranching”, “Open Grazing”, etc.

In all, there are more numbers of military roadblocks in the South-south than in the Southeast whereas there are more numbers of police roadblocks in the Southeast than in the South-south. In the Southeast, there were not less than 750 police roadblocks between August 2015 and August 2016, out of which, Anambra accounted for at least 250, Imo 150, Abia 200, Enugu 100 and Ebonyi 50. Between August 2016 and August 2017, the number increased to not less than 1500 police roadblocks, out of which, Anambra accounted for at least 500, Imo 200, Abia 400, Enugu 200 and Ebonyi 150. The number further increased to 3000 by September 2017 with Anambra State accounting for 800, Imo 500, Abia 700, Enugu and the Ebonyi States 800 or 400 police roadblocks each.

The increase in the number of police and military roadblocks in the Southeast followed the Sept 2017 Military Python Dance 11 massacre and the Nov 2017 Anambra Governorship poll. Presently, the number has increased to about 3,300 (Anambra, 800, Abia, 800, Imo, 700, Enugu, 500 and Ebonyi, 500) manned by 14,000 stationed officers. The about 200 military roadblocks in the Southeast are manned by not less than 3000 personnel of the Army, Navy and Air Force. The military roadblocks in the Southeast had further increased from about 100-150 in 2018 to not less than 200 as at this October 2019. The newest increase is deliberately done for clear execution of hash socio-economic and ethnic agenda including possible creation and protection of ‘Fulani settlement’ policy.

This is despite the fact that the landmass of Southeast region put together is less than the landmass of Kogi State which is one of the States with least landmass in the North.  A clear example of Government infantile excuses for increasing military and police roadblocks in Eastern Nigeria including Delta and Edo States was the public announcement made by Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Garba Umar on 30th October 2017 of deployment of “16,000 police personnel, 10,000 soldiers, 5,000 naval personnel and 3,000 air force personnel for the 18th November 2017 Governorship Poll in the State”. 

State By State Breakdown Of Number Of Military & Police Roadblocks In Eastern Nigeria

Southeast: Military Roadblocks are divided into average of 40 per State, or Anambra, 40 military roadblocks, Abia, 40, Imo, 40, Enugu, 40 and Ebonyi, 40. For the 3,300 police roadblocks, it is Anambra, 800, Abia, 800, Imo, 700, Enugu, 500, Ebonyi, 500; totaling 3,300. For South-south, military roadblocks are divided into average of 67 per State; with Delta, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa taking the lion’s share. In the area of 3000 police roadblocks, it is Delta, Rivers, Edo and Cross Rivers with as much as 600 police roadblocks each and Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa 400 each; totaling 3200 (but we chose to use 3000). It is also N40, 000 illicit daily take-home for every extortionist police roadblock in Delta, Edo, Rivers and Cross River and N30, 000 for Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa States respectively.

34,000 Armed Security Personnel Likely To Be Present On Eastern Roads

While the projected 3,300 police roadblocks in the Southeast are manned by 13,000 police officers on average of four officers per roadblock, the 200 military roadblocks in the region are manned by 3000 military personnel on average of 15 officers per roadblock (i.e. on account of half day “Beat-handover”). On the other hand, the 3000 police roadblocks in the South-south are manned by 12,000 officers on average of four officers per roadblock while the 400 military roadblocks in the region are manned by 6000 personnel on average of 15 military officers per roadblock.

It is also not forgotten that South-south, owing to “lucrative” or “juicy” nature of oil and gas and nonviolent “Biafra sentiments” is heavily militarized since August 2015, to the extent that each State in the region has at least one Army Brigade, among other military formations. In the end, there are presently not less than 9000 armed military and 25,000 armed police personnel on Eastern Roads; totaling 34,000 armed security personnel. These exclude other armed internal security personnel deployed at various roads and other open spots in the two regions including personnel of Customs, Immigration and Nigerian Security & Civil Defense Corps.

Illicit Daily Take-Home For Each Extortionist Military/Police Squad On State By State Basis

Southeast: In Anambra and Abia States, each extortionist police roadblock squad retires daily with at least N40,000. This is owing to their blue-collar culture, high volume of extortionist items and little or no resistance among the victims dominated by citizens with limited education or exposure. The two States are closely followed by Imo State, a semi blue-collar State that also shares boundaries with the two States-where not less than N30,000 is illicitly collected and pocketed by each extortionist police roadblock squad. Enugu and Ebonyi States are relatively white-collar States with less number of sedentary commercial activities. The bulk of roadblock extortion proceeds come from those involved in inter-state and urban city and intercity commercial transport activities in the two States. It is projected that average of N25,000 is illicitly pocketed by each extortionist police squad.

In the area of military roadblock extortion and illicit daily take-home, the projected average for each of the 200 military roadblock squads in the Southeast region and 400 in the South-south region is N100,000. The Nigerian Naval Checkpoint at Atani Road Junction in Onitsha makes not less than N300,000-N500,000 on daily basis. Sources of its roadblock extortion have already been disclosed above. Military roadblocks located in “oil and gas” or “contraband” routes or at inter-state boundaries including those of Asa in Abia, Orji River in Enugu, Nsukka-Obolo-Afor-Oturkpa in Enugu, Abakiliki-Ogoja, Aba-Ikot-Ekpene, Etche-Obigbo, Okene-Auchi, Port Harcourt-Yanagoa, Ore-Okada-Benin, Ogoja-Otukpo, Owerri-Egbema-Elele-Port Harcourt, etc and mega others such as Isiala-Ngwa and Osisioma Army Checkpoints and Owerre-Nta Naval Checkpoint are noted to be the most “juicy” or “lucrative” military checkpoints east of the Niger. Each of them likely criminally retires home on daily basis with not less than N200,000.

In the area of 3,000 police roadblocks in the South-south, it is projected that each extortionist police roadblock in Delta, Edo, Rivers and Cross River States illicitly retires on daily basis with not less than N40,000. Edo State is found “lucrative for extortionist police roadblocks not only on account of its middle class oil and gas producing status but also because it hosts three most “lucrative” boundaries (Lagos-Benin-Ore, Onitsha-Asaba-Benin and Uromi-Okene). Delta State, apart from being a major oil and gas producer, is also turning into a major commercial hub, owing to its boundary with Onitsha. Cross River State is strengthened by its multiple boundaries’ sharing, serving as a gateway to the North, South-south, Cameroon and Southeast. Rivers State serves as “oil and gas” industrial capital of old Eastern Nigeria with attendant high volume of commercial activities. Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa States remain the “poorest” or less “lucrative” for extortionist police and military roadblocks on account of the named States’ sole status as “oil and gas” tigers but with largely white-collar social settings.   

N56B Likely Collected Illicitly At Military Roadblocks In 50 Months (August 2015-Oct 2019)

Southeast & South-south: Using a flat benchmark of N60,000, the 200 military roadblocks in the Southeast must have illicitly made N18b in the past 50 months or between August 2015 and Oct 2019, with a shortfall of N3b, if calculated with N50,000 average benchmark used as at Dec 2018 for 150 military roadblocks in the region. The shortfall is incorporated into the “dark figure” of N7.5b or a must include figure representing “untracked extortion”. Presently, daily average of N60,000 per military roadblock is applied since Jan, translating to N12m per day for 200 of them now found in the region, N360m per month, N4.3b per year and N18b in the past 50 months. For the estimated 400 military roadblocks in the South-south, it is same average of single sum of N60, 000 and total sum of N24m per day, N720m monthly, N8.64b yearly and N36b in 50 months. When added to N15b originally taken by 150 (August 2015-Dec 2018) and 200 (Jan-Oct 2019) military roadblocks in the Southeast plus the “dark figure” of N7.5b, the grand total comes to N56b or about $190m in the past 50 months.

N250B Likely Collected Illicitly At Police Roadblocks In 50 Months (August 2015-Oct 2019)

As a build up from our 2018 report, N102.6b was projected to have been illicitly collected by estimated 3,300 police roadblocks in the Southeast. The breakdown shows that in Anambra State where N26.1b was estimated to have been illicitly collected from August 2015-Dec 2018, on average of N40,000 for each extortionist police roadblock per day; extra sum of N7.6b was added, making it N33.8b illicitly collected in the State in past 50 months.

Police roadblocks in Abia had also illicitly collected N29.6b at N40,000 for each roadblock per day from 800 roadblocks. Others are N16b from 700 roadblocks in Imo at N30,000 for each roadblock, N10.5b from 500 roadblocks in Enugu at N25,000 for each roadblock per day and N10.5b from 500 roadblocks in Ebonyi at N25,000 for each roadblock per day; totaling N99.6b. When N2.6b is added as “dark figures of crime”, it brings the grand total to N102.6b.

In the South-south: Delta State, at N40,000 for each of 450 police roadblocks in the State between August and Dec 2018, N21.6b was illicitly collected in forty months and between Jan and Oct 2019, at same N40,000 for each of 600 existing police roadblocks, N7.2b was added, bringing the total to N28.8b in 50 months or between August 2015 and Oct 2019. In Edo State, same N28.8b was illicitly collected; likewise in Rivers (N28.8b) and Cross River States (N28.8b). But in Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa States, it was N30,000 for each of 350 projected police roadblocks in each of the two States, between August 2015 and Oct 2018; totaling N12.6b each.

When added with N3.6b illicitly collected by each of the 400 police roadblocks between Jan and Oct 2019, each of the two States had lost N16.2b in the past 50 months or between August 2015 and Oct 2019. In other words, the projected 3000 police roadblocks in the South-south had illicitly collected total of N147.6b in the past 50 months or four years and two months and when added to N102.6b illicitly collected by 3,300 police roadblocks in the Southeast, the two totals come to N250b. The grand total comes to N306b or about $1b (using the official exchange rate) when the N56b or $190m illicitly collected by 600 military roadblocks in the two regions is added. 

Explaining The Attachments

Attached are the Sampling Graphic Tables showing the number and locations of military and police roadblocks recently encountered and counted in Eastern Nigeria and photos of police officers extorting money from transporters and other road users on Eastern Roads and those of civilian agents hired and paid by the roadblock military personnel to collect criminal tolls for them at military checkpoints across the two regions. The photos were taken between Sept 2017 and Oct 2019.

Photo (1) shows one of the hired civilian agents armed with stick forcing commercial motorists to part with roadblock bribe for the military (photo taken in late 2018 at Aba), photo (2) shows the outlook of the Atani Road Junction Naval Checkpoint in Onitsha, one of the most “lucrative” military che


Source: News Express

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