The Headquarters, 23 Brigade, Nigerian Army, has reacted to what it described as a ‘mischievous’ story by Sahara Reporters, alleging that soldiers opened fire on protesting staff of Dangote Sugar Company at Gyawana district in Lafiya Lamurde Local Government Area of Adamawa state.
TheFact Nigeria gathered that the online news website had, yesterday, 15 July, in a breaking story captioned: Seven Feared Dead As Soldiers Open Fire On Protesting Staff Of Dangote Sugar Company In Adamawa, reported that no less than seven persons were feared dead, having sustained fatal injuries at the Dangote Sugar Company in Adamawa State.
According to the website, the soldiers opened fire on the protesters at 5om on the fateful day. They also alleged that a resident of Gyawana had told them (Sahara Reporters) that soldiers who were despatched for the illegal operation, were hired by the management of the sugar company to chase the protesters away, and that the soldiers, who reportedly came to the sugar company in four Toyota Hilux vans, allegedly left their duty post at Numan bridge.
However, in a statement issued in order to give the proper perspective on the ‘libelous’ narrative, the Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, 23 Brigade, Yola, Major Haruna Mohammed Sani, disclosed that the Gyawana community, had yesterday, at 2:00pm, staged a protest against the management of Dangote Sugar Company threatening to shut down the establishment and abduct foreign expatriates for sacking some staff of the company who are members of the host community.
Efforts by personnel of the Nigeria Police Force, NPF, and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, to calm the situation proved abortive as they were overpowered by irate youths wielding cutlass, matchettes and other dangerous weapons.
A distress call was then made to an Internal Security outfit in the State, nicknamed Operation Farauta, comprising soldiers and other Para-military Agencies, who swiftly mobilized and moved to reinforce the Police and Civil Defence deployment at the location.
In the process, tear gas as well as warning shots were fired as some of the non- violent means of crowd dispersal, and to further prevent own troops from being lynched by the mob.
Consequently, the situation was brought under control, and though some soldiers sustained minor injuries from the stones thrown by the mob, no single protester was killed.
The NA, therefore posited that, not only was the Sahara Reporters story written in a haste, and without observing the basic tenets of objectivity and balance in news story writing, but it was also a calculated attempt to dent the image of the Nigerian Army which is doing so much to ensure that the good people of Adamawa State live in peace, and without threat to their lives and property.
The statement also reiterates that ‘the Nigerian Army is a professional and disciplined institution that operates within the purview of the constitution and in line with Rules of Engagement and Code of Conduct which serve as guides to troops in all military engagements’.
The NA further enjoins members of the general public to remain calm and disregard the mischievous report while rendering support to the Nigerian Army in her resolve to discharge its constitutional mandate of aiding the civil authority when called upon to safeguard lives and property of law abiding citizens.