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#EndSARS And The Professionalism Of The Nigerian Army

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By Nkechi Odoma

A lot of confusions have assailed Nigeria now over #EndSARS protests. Merchants of violence and bloodbath have taken control of parts of Nigeria in irrefutably dubious protests. Hidden retrogressive schemes have been hatched and re-enacted by various interests within the country. Surely, these demonstrations have become a mass exhumation and combination of satanic motives by groups, demonic interests, questionable personalities and regions in the country.

Most times, Nigerians fail to express their grievances against government, in a civil, lawful and orderly manner as permitted by the tenets of democracy operative in the country. But when Mr. President becomes constrained to deploy soldiers to restore abused public law and order, Nigerians again, make the Army fall- guys and brand them with all sorts of unproven violations of extant laws.

Quite truly, most of the people masquerading as protesters now, cannot convince anybody on why they are still demonstrating. It’s the extent of the pathetic poverty of the mind in most Nigerians, especially the youths who are now used as springboard to destabilize and destroy their country. And then the patrons are speaking in confusing tongues on the upheavals.

The voices of elder statesmen and former leaders of Nigeria who have brought the country to these doldrums over the decades hardly blend. In the day, they pretend decency, but in the night their guttural bewitching voices resonates with incitement of protesting youths.

Most worrisome, is the transmogrification of the #EndSARS protests into insane exploitation of national faultlines, such as religion, ethnicity, nepotism and regionalism. And it is being pulled with every might by the actors. The most surprising aspect of it is the blame mentality of Nigerians on President Muhammadu Buhari over the threats to national security and the breakdown of public law and order.

They exclude other leaders at lower rungs for the failings in Nigeria. Nonetheless vandalized shops, raided warehouses and targeted businesses of prominent politicians speak volumes. So far, none can point to any pin Buhari possesses as his corrupt possession while serving Nigeria.

It’s ironic that the same accusers of President Buhari’s apathy or dishonest claims of his neglect of the welfare of Nigerians in the guise of #EndSARS instigated breach of public peace are unwilling to allow him use his executive powers to restore public peace and order as the situation demands.

Two days ago, the BBC Hausa editor in Nigeria Aliyu Tanko wrote on the Lagos incidence of protesters/youths invading the palace of Oba of Lagos; “What began as a protest against the hated Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) has become a conduit for the youth to vent their anger with the people who have been in charge of Nigeria for decades, and demand change.”

Deployment of federal forces to protect lives and property of citizens when protesters become violent is not alien to law books. America’s President Donald Trump also applied the same measures in the case of #BlackLivesMatter protests in America in the wake of police brutality as sparked by the killing of Pastor George Floyd.

It’s ridiculous for Nigerians to keep viewing every phenomenon or destructive development from personalized prisms or sentimental camps. None cares about national or collective interest. What is in vogue now in the country over the farcical #EndSARS protests now is the animation of emergency activists and aimless crusaders of social justice or emancipation.

The same quoted BBC report also stated; “While those who backed and came out in support of the #EndSARS movement were peaceful; another segment of the youth saw the protests as an opportunity.” Which Government anywhere in the world would allow these brazen acts of criminality in the pretext of protests?

The Lagos Lekki Toll Gate shootings is often projected by these clan of people as the manifestation of President Buhari’s “civilian dictatorship” and militarization of Nigeria. The Nigerian Army are baselessly held culprits by promoters of the #EndSARS protests. But no Nigerian has so far displayed a recorded video of the sad incident implicating soldiers in the line of duty in Lagos and Lekki Toll Gate shootings’ in particular. But the international community is being persuaded and encouraged to implicate soldiers.

Therefore, idlers and fake news merchants in Nigeria have found an engaging job of tainting the image of the Nigerian Army. But whereas some fake news activists want Nigerians and the world to believe that the Army killed people in Lekki, all the videos/ pictures on social media seen on the incident have not even remotely linked soldiers to the shootings and killings.

By now, some dubious persons and ICT experts might be trying as hard as possible to doctor or re-work the videos to implicate soldiers. But Nigerians and the international community are aware. There is no amount of blackmail or hatred on anyone that can submerge truth. It resurfaces someday and definitely.

It’s strange that some Nigerians deliberately downplay the reforms and innovations the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and leader of the counter-insurgency operations in Nigeria, Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai has imposed on the Nigerian Army under his leadership. Before the Buhari Presidency, the Nigerian Army was a brute, uncultured, undisciplined, unpatriotic and unprofessional assemblage of people under this arm of Nigeria’s Armed Forces.

Gen. Buratai had noticed it in the cause of his service. He has been part of the system from his youthful age. Everywhere Gen. Buratai has dispensed services to Nigeria, Africa and the globe, in leadership capacity, no one has ever accused him of human rights violations, until now and only at this time by Nigerians. Rather, he has earned accolades and priceless medals.

And when God availed him the opportunity to lead the Nigerian Army at the critical time of overwhelming insecurities, it was clear to him that he had to first, reposition this institution to rank among Africa and the world’s best. He has successfully done it, very strenuously, combining the reformation and repositioning of a degenerated force vis-à-vis battling the multiple insurgencies and insurrections in Nigeria perfectly.

Funnily, Gen. Buratai deserves no appreciation of some Nigerians because of the pursuit of partisan and selfish interests. Every day, some people sleep and wake up only plotting how they can unseat Gen. Buratai as COAS. The only reason is that he has refused to compromise professional standards to service the interests of devious Nigerian politicians.

But even in the current instance of the #EndSARS protests and the Lekki shootings and killings, the Nigerian Army displayed the same professionalism and discipline as has become their hallmark under the leadership of Gen. Buratai. They were attending to protesters as if it was a church service or business class of an air craft on air. Nigerians should search their consciences and speak truthfully to themselves.

Soldiers were deployed all over Lagos once the #EndSARS protests become violent and Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu imposed a 24-hour curfew on Lagos. It was not Lekki area alone. Why is it that the soldiers so fervently accused of killings at Lekki were not accused of the same abuse of human rights violations in other parts of Lagos? Let Nigerians listen to the drums and lyrics, thereafter, take time to denote the message. Some persons are out to ensure certain leaders are not only vilified but crucified and persecuted. Gen. Buratai is one such target.

In spite of everything and all through the #EndSARS nuisance which became unreasonably bloody, Nigerians saw the massive display of professionalism by soldiers. It speaks a lot about the disciplined and professional leadership of the Nigerian Army. Kudos to Gen. Buaratai.

Odoma wrote this article from Asokoro, Abuja.

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Lekki Shooting: CNN Carried Out A Hatchet Job On The Army – International Journalists

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The report by Cable News Network (CNN) on the shooting at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos was a “poor” hatchet job targeted at the Nigerian Army, the International Institute for Investigative Journalism (IIIJ) has said.

In an electronic statement signed by special rapporteur, Francois Deburoiche, on Wednesday, the IIIJ said it came to this conclusion following a careful investigation on the events that led to the escalation of violence at the toll gate.

After forensic analysis of CNN’s report, the International Institute for Investigative Journalism noted that there were some missing details in the American television channel’s piece.

According to the institute, the report was carried out in poor taste, lacking professionalism and objectivity. It added that the claim of use of live bullets and testimonies of victims were all tales.

The institute, however, advised the television channel to retract and admit error in the documentary.

Read the full statement below:

The International Institute for Investigative Journalism is issuing this press statement with the best of intents after a careful investigation on the events that led to the escalation of violence at the Lekki Tollgate in Lagos Nigeria during the EndSARS protest.

A team of investigative journalists with extensive experience in conflict situation interrogated the various claims made by the American Cable News Network in its report on the Lekki Shootings and came up with a comprehensive analysis that found gaps that were not filled in the CNN documentation of the events at the Lekki Tollgate in Lagos Nigeria.

Our statement:

The CNN documentary on the EndSARS protest in Nigeria was released to the general public with lots of inaccuracies. These accuracies were detected after an extensive forensic investigation by the International Institute for Investigative Journalism.

It is thus our opinion that the report was carried out in the poor taste, lacking in professionalism and objectivity. This is a great betrayal on journalism by the CNN, which indeed violated the known tenets of journalism.

The videos and images used in the CNN report were not subjected to adequate scrutiny. Consequently, it lacked credibility for use by an organization of repute such as the CNN. This fact was also buttressed by the fact that the CNN report was very hasty in its conclusion by indicting the Nigerian Army of culpability in the events at the Lekki Tollgate.

Our position remains that the CNN erred substantially in its report that was highly misleading to the general public in Nigeria and other parts of the world. The documentary also failed woefully to highlight the events that led to the reign of violence in parts of Lagos state but instead rehashed the issues under different subheadings with minimal evidence that indicts the Nigerian Army of wrongdoing at the Lekki Tollgate.

The International Institute for Investigative Journalism concludes that the CNN documentary was prejudiced in its analysis as well as presentation which fall nothing short of a poor hatchet job with the undeniable intent to discredit the Nigerian Army operation at the Lekki Tollgate in Lagos Nigeria.

The analysis by CNN in the documentary was hasty in its categorization with regards to the use of live bullets by soldiers at the Lekki Tollgate. The report attempted to portray the use of excessive force by soldiers, while the accompanying videos and images did not depict such.

The credibility of those interviewed in the documentary was also suspect with the choice of words and the facial and body expressions of the victims as well as their relatives. Thus much was revealed by forensic analysis as the emotions portrayed didn’t match their words.

Conclusion:

The International Institute for Investigative Journalism is of the considered opinion that the CNN carried out a hatchet job that is targeted at the Nigerian Army institution. We as a result of this classify the CNN documentary as highly misleading and with the capacity to cause disquiet in Nigeria.

The CNN must retract and admit error in submission in its documentary on the Lekki Tollgate shootings. The International Institute for Investigative Journalism faults the CNN documentary in all ramifications.

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Why Army is Boosting Land Power, Buratai Speaks at War College Lecture

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The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai, has said that the Army War College Nigeria (AWCN) has continued to churn out highly-capable operational commanders, with a very good understanding of operational art and the requisite skills for the effective application of land power.

Buratai, was the special guest of honour at the ‘Graduation Lecture’ of Course 4/2020, in Abuja. The COAS, who had earlier commissioned the War College Office Extension Building, further said the building is made up of offices, Central Auditorium with 450 seating capacity, a lecture hall and a lounge with 180 and 120 seating capacity, respectively.

According to Lt. Gen. Buratai, the War College was conceived to address the observed gaps in the professional military education of Army’s personnel at operational level. The Commandant of AWCN, Maj. Gen. SE Udounwa, expressed gratitude to the Army Chief for tirelessly supporting the College, especially in the area of infrastructural development.

The AWCN was established in 2017 to bridge the gap between the tactical and strategic level training by producing well trained, educated and inspired operational level leaders for the Nigerian Army.

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Army Neutralize 23 Terrorists, 6 Soldiers Wounded

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Troops of Operation Fire Ball, a subsidiary of Operation Lafiya Dole, has neutralized 23 Boko Haram/ISWAP while one terrorist’s Improvised Explosive Device (IED) expert was captured alive during a recent encounter.

The operations in the last 3 weeks of this month according to Brig. Gen. Benard Onyeuko has proved to be a significant period against the criminals during which 2 women and 3 children were rescued unhurt while the gallant troops courageously intercepted some Boko Haram criminals while attempting to collect ransom from relations of their abducted victims leading to the decimation of the criminals.

The Ag Director Defence Media Operations revalealed that as a result of the aggressive offensive actions carried out by the troops, several terrorist elements have been neutralized and large number of their equipment were captured including large quantity of their logistics consignment intercepted by the gallant troops.

Items intercepted are; 4 Gun Trucks, one Fabricated Vehicule Blinde Leger, 2 Anti Aircraft Guns, one General Purpose Machine Gun, 2 PKT Guns, 8 AK 47 Rifles, 2 AK 47 Rifle Magazines, one AK 47 Rifle Cover and one Dane Gun.

Furthermore, large cache of ammunition were also captured. This include: 18 rounds of 7.62 x 51mm, 4 rounds of Brownie Machine Gun ammunition, one Rocket Propelled Grenade Tube, One 36 Hand Grenade, 23 belted rounds of 7.62 x 54, One QJC Extra Barrel, 311 rounds of 7.62mm NATO ammunition (Linked), 511 rounds of PKT ammunition, 8 rounds of Light Machine Gun ammunition, One Service Tools Box,

One gas cylinder (for making IED), 8 bicycles, several bags of grains and assorted packets of drugs. Other assorted non lethal items were also captured from the criminals.

Unfortunately, Onyeuko said, 6 gallant soldiers were wounded in action over the period. However, the wounded soldiers have since been evacuated to a military medical facility and are currently responding positively to treatment.

He assured the entire populace of the North East region of the Nigerian military high command determination to finally rout the remnants of Boko Haram/Islamic State’s West Africa Province criminals from their enclaves in this zone.

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