The Nigerian Army has reacted to video clips and reports, insinuating that her personnel are involved in extortion from hapless motorists, and have debunked such reports, describing them as a ‘deliberate orchestration of falsehood and gross misrepresentation of facts produced and circulated to deliberately smear the image of the Nigerian Army.
In a statement issued by the Director of Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen. MM Yerima, one of such videos was the one said to have been shot in Edo State in which soldiers were alleged to have blocked the Benin – Agbor expressway demanding illegal toll of N1000 from each luxurious bus that plied the road. In the said video clip, it was also alleged that pandemonium ensued following an allegation that transporters refused to pay the illegal toll.
TheFact Nigeria gathered that a state-wide curfew which had been imposed by the Edo State Government, sequel to the aftermath of the #End SARs protest, is yet to be reviewed due to the resurgence of the COVID 19 pandemic in th state. As a result of this, motorists park a few meters away from the check point mounted by soldiers and await the opening of the road at 5:00am daily.
Furthermore, it was learnt that the road closure has been a long time in effect, and that disgruntled night time commercial drivers had insisted that the road, being a federal road is not under the jurisdiction of the government of Edo State. The isolated protest happened on 17 February 2021 at about 10:30pm. However, this situation was brought under control professionally by troops who were conscious of the rules of engagement and code of conduct for Internal Security operations.
According to the statement, the Nigerian Army recognizes the right of Nigerians to hold and share opinions especially on social media. However, it should not be used to spread deliberate falsehood, and, a situation where deliberate misrepresentation of facts and fabrication of outright falsehood are being orchestrated on social media to tarnish the image and reputation of the military, is not and should not be acceptable.
The Directorate therefore reassured law abiding public that the Nigerian Army remains a very professional force that respects the fundamental human rights of the citizenry in line with global best practices.
The Army reiterated that neither willful breach of law and order, nor indiscipline on the part of its personnel will be condoned, and therefore urged the general public to discountenance the false information contained in the video.