Highway extortion: Dismissal, prosecution await erring officials- Security operatives warns

Highway extortion: Dismissal, prosecution await erring officials — Security operatives warns


THE National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has warned that any of its officials caught in highway extortion will be dismissed and prosecuted.

The NDLEA Director of Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, who disclosed this in a radio programme in Abuja on Wednesday, said the agency has put measures in place to fight corruption internally and would not hesitate to wield the big stick on any staff found culpable of fraud.

The NDLEA spokesman gave the warning in reaction to an investigative report published by Human Angle Media, which alleges that officials of the agency and five other security agencies were extorting motorists and road users at checkpoints on Maiduguri highways, Borno State.

Babafemi, however, insisted that the agency staff were not known for extorting motorists on Nigerian roads because they understand the enormity of engaging in corrupt acts, which attracts both sack and prosecution according to the law.

He added that the agency officials deployed in various checkpoints across Nigeria were trained to do their job professionally.

He said: “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.

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

On measures to check corruption within the agency, he explained, “NDLEA Chairman, Buba Marwa set up monitoring units that report to him directly and a taskforce team that investigates activities of personnel and handout disciplinary measures.

“Public service rules are taken seriously, and this helps make the personnel behave well. Also, recruiting people into the agency is top-notch, and this is to ensure persons of integrity are recruited into NDLEA,” he said.

Babafemi called on Nigerians to assist the agency in spreading the advocacy against the trafficking of illicit drugs and substance use, stressing that many harmful substances are seized from highways, and people are arrested for trafficking drugs now and then.

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