Highway Extortion: NDLEA Threatens Sanctions Following HumAngle Investigation 

The Nigerian anti-drug trafficking agency said it has established a task force to investigate the activities of its personnel and instigate disciplinary action after an investigation by HumAngle found their officers extort bribes from motorists.

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has threatened to sanction any of its personnel caught extorting commuters. 

NDLEA spokesperson Femi Babafemi said any of the agency’s staff found collecting bribes will have their employment terminated, adding that their personnel only have a business with people in possession of illicit drugs. 

Babafemi’s statement follows a HumAngle investigative report published in June, which exposed how officials from the NDLEA and six other security agencies extorted drivers and other road users at checkpoints in various highways, in Borno, North East Nigeria.

He said this on Wednesday, Aug. 16, during a radio show produced by Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development (PRIMORG). The programme, which is sponsored by MacArthur Foundation, creates awareness among citizens on corruption and accountability. 

The report also indicted officials of the Nigeria Police, Nigerian Army, Nigeria Customs Service, Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, and the Federal Road Safety Corps. 

“When you see officers of the agency on the highway, their responsibility purely is to check for drugs and not anything else, and so if you’re not trafficking or carrying drugs, you have no business with them,” Babafemi said.

“Rather, what people complain about NDLEA personnel on the roads is a delay in time used in searching vehicles which I don’t encourage.”

He added that the agency has put in place steps to combat internal corruption.

Borno is the state hardest hit by the humanitarian crisis that has trailed the Boko Haram insurgency. Of the 2.4 million internally displaced people documented in the Northeast as of March, about 77 per cent were in the state. About 8.3 million people are said to need humanitarian assistance in the region.

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Mahdi Garba

Mahdi Garba covers development, security, conflict, climate & disinformation at HumAngle. He heads the Humanitarian Desk at HumAngle. He tweets regularly @MahdiGarba.

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