Among the forms of extortion were police and military roadblocks (worth N670 billion), police prison extortions (worth N200 billion), and “crime proceeds” that police converted (N60 billion)
The amount of money wasted by governors for security was N400 billion, and the amount demanded in extortion by aggressive government organizations was N700 billion.
An estimate of N2.8 trillion was extorted at gunpoint from inhabitants of South-Eastern Nigeria by various security services between July 2020 and July 2023, according to a research by the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety).
According to the research, police and military roadblocks cost N670 billion, police custody extortions cost N200 billion, and police “crime profits” were exchanged for N60 billion.
Moreover, N400 billion in wasted governors’ security votes and estimates of N1 trillion in extortion by violent government agencies were also reported.
The report highlights that these extortions resulted in a 45 percent exodus of businesses from the southeast to the southwest, particularly Lagos, which severely impacted the southeast economy due to the government-inflicted insecurity in the region.
“The amount had risen from ‘blue-collar’ corruption and other corrupt practices perpetrated by armed state actors and armed non-state 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 whopping N2.8trillion proceeds from state actor and non-state actor criminal activities had come from police and military roadblocks N670b, Governors’ squandered security votes’ N400billion, extortions by militant Government agencies N700b, police security to VIPs/institutions N30b, military/police house burnings/lootings N150b, ransoms/robberies by armed nonstate criminal entities N400b and other crime proceeds from armed nonstate criminal entities N200B. 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 N60billion 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 expensive 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 indicated.
Intersociety in the seven-page research report, explained that it was a follow-up from the 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.
The report, however, queried whether or not the deployed security forces at Eastern roadblocks and other extortionist Government agencies are more criminal and atrocious than non-state criminal entities and criminalities the former are constitutionally mandated to uproot and contain.
According to the report, governors have been found to have hidden under “insecurity” or creation of same to whimsically and capriciously over-bloat and siphon public funds. This is to the extent that “out of every N5billion received monthly as ‘State’s share of federal allocations’, at least N1billion is set aside and siphoned as “monthly security votes”.