Easterners ransoms N2.8trn to bandits, corrupt security, revenue agents at roadblocks, and others in 3yrs – Report

A report has arisen on how a whopping N2.8 trillion was defrauded from Easterners as ramson to bandits; unpatriotic security operatives on roadblocks, corrupt revenue agents, and other criminal elements including non-state actors in three years.

The report released by the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) on July 31, 2023, was the outcome of research it conducted between July 2020, and 2023.

According to the report made available to Vanguard, “deployed security forces and other Government agencies are more criminal and atrocious than nonstate criminal entities and criminalities constitutionally mandated to the former to uproot and contain”.

The report claimed that there were also over 6000 police and 2500 military roadblocks across the region.

According to the report, over 50 armed groups with some directly linked to State actors, are in operation in the region.

It read in part:” The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) has carried out fresh field studies which found that totaled N2.8trillion or $3.5billion belonging to hardworking, self-reliant and lawful citizens of Eastern Nigeria was lost at gunpoint in three years of July 2020 to July 2023.

“The amount had risen from ‘blue-collar’ corruption and other corrupt exercises executed by armed state actors and armed nonstate actors cutting across the eleven Eastern Nigerian States of Edo, Delta, Anambra, Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo, Abia, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, and Rivers a period covering July 2020 to July 2023.”

The report gave a breakdown of the humongous sum as follows:

” The whopping N2.8trillion proceeds from state actor and nonstate actor criminal activities had come from police and military roadblocks -N670b; Governors’ squandered security votes’- N400 billion; extortions by militant Government agencies – N700b; and police security to VIPs/institutions-N30b”.

Others were “military/police house burnings/lootings -N150 billion; ransoms/robberies by armed nonstate criminal entities -N400 billion and other crime earnings from armed nonstate criminal entities -N200 billion.”

It further read:” Added to the estimated N660 billion police/military roadblock extortions is estimated N200 billion arising from ‘police custodial extortions (.i.e. ‘bail fees’ and ‘cash mobilization’ for arrests, investigations and court arraignments)”.

“Estimated sum of N60 billion was also linked to gunpoint seizure and conversion of “crime proceeds” by various police crack squads across the eleven Eastern States (.i.e. gunpoint money transfers and cash seizure and conversion of the seized automobiles, motorcycles, and other costly personal belongings) especially those seized from the slain and the arrested citizens undergoing criminal investigations.”

“The totality of the above is to say that criminal monies have taken over security and governance duties in Eastern Nigeria”, the report claimed.

 The CSO said that the latest Report was a follow-up from its main Report of Tuesday, July 18, 2023, which identified six major triggers of insecurity and other unsafe conditions threatening Nigeria with genocide or complex humanitarian catastrophes in the past eight years or since June 2015.

 Intersociety’s Report of 18th July 2023 graphically traced the present insecurity and other unsafe conditions to former President Muhammad Buhari Government’s quest to plunge Nigeria into the Afghan-modelamic Caliphate”.

Other identified triggers of insecurity in the Report “are the “Buhari’s C-in-C above the law license on Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen”; “the Buhari’s C-in-C operational death code to security chiefs against defenseless citizens of Eastern Nigeria”; “the over-bloating and squandering of the Govs’ security votes”; and “the lack of political will and sincerity by former Government of Nigeria under Retired Major General Muhammad Buhari/the Governors/Governments of the South-East” and “the security sector corruption and operational crudities”.

 The report was jointly signed by a Criminologist/ Board Chairman of Intersociety, Emeka Umeagbalasi; and Chinwe Umeche, Head, of Democracy and Good Governance of the CSO; as well as Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Head, of Civil Liberties and Rule of Law.

Others were Ndidiamaka C. Bernard, Head, International Justice, and Human Rights; Chidinma Evangeline Udegbunam, Head, Campaign and Publicity; Ositadinma Agu, Head, International Contacts and Mobilization; and Samuel Kamanyaoku, Head, Field Data Collection and Documentation.

According to the Report, “it was also found that discriminatory and vindictive handling styles and incompetency of the Nigeria Government(s) have dangerously escalated insecurity and other unsafe conditions to the extent that several victim-populations have been pushed to the wall and forced to resort to violent self helps or reprisal radicalism leading to springing up of no fewer than 50 nonstate armed revenge and counter-revenge groups responsible for present “eco-politico-religious criminalities”, out of which over 30 of the 50 armed groups are linked to Islamic Jihadism across Nigeria and 20 others engaging in “politico-economic criminalities” ravaging Eastern Nigeria.

According to the report, there are estimated 6000 police-mounted roadblocks on Trunk A (federal roads), Trunk B (state/inter-state roads), and Trunk C (local government/community roads) motorized roads spreading across the eleven States of Eastern Nigeria (South-East and South-South).

” The above is an average of 550 police roadblocks per State mounted by over 40,000 police personnel in all an average of seven extortionist police personnel at each roadblock.

“At a minimum of N60,000 estimated to be illicitly collected daily by each of the estimated 6000 police roadblocks, N360m is illicitly pocketed daily, N10.8b monthly and N130b yearly; further translating to N390B-N400B, illicitly collected from motorists and other road users at Eastern roads between July 2020 and July 2023.

“There are also estimated 2500 military roadblocks involving 25,000 military personnel on State average of 250 military roadblocks-with estimated ten military personnel at each military roadblock. 

“At an estimated minimum of N100,000 illicitly collected daily by each of the estimated 2500 military roadblocks, a minimum of N250m is illicitly collected daily, N7.5b monthly and N90b yearly further translating to N270B from July 2020-July 2023; totaling N670billion from police and military roadblock extortions from eleven Eastern States’ roads in the past three years of July 2020 to July 2023.

“The Onitsha/Ogbaru Nigerian Naval checkpoint at Uga Junction/Atani Road Junction in Anambra State, for instance, illicitly collects and pockets not less than N400,000 daily from sand excavators, Tipper Lorries/Haulage vehicles, commuter buses, tricycles, etc. “

Edited by Damilola Adeleke

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