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Nigerian Army’s Actions At Lekki In Tandem With International Best Practices – Expert Witness

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The conduct of the Nigerian Army at the Lekki Tollgate has been described commendable and in tandem with international best practices by a British freelance journalist Michael Edwards. Mr. Edwards, who is also an expert in radio-visual analysis, stated this while speaking with reporters on the sides at the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution for victims of police brutality.

He emphasized that the actions of the soldiers at the scene of the EndSARS protest as seen on the CCTV footage is in tandem with international best practices.

“I say that the soldiers acted with the utmost professionalism as evident in the CCTV footage. I was alarmed that I didn’t get to see any display of brutish force and firing into the crowd as alleged. In truth, what I saw as an expert in radio-visuals analysis is a team of soldiers applying utmost restraint while attempting to disperse the crowd.”

“This I must add would have been the case in any clime including the United Kingdom. The CCTV footage revealed this, and I believe there should be no dispute about this amongst the stakeholders.”

He further added that with what was revealed in the CCTV footage, the Nigerian Army should be commended and not vilified by any individual or group.

“It is my opinion that the Nigerian Army deserves commendation for its actions at the Lekki Tollgate. This is not an assumptive position, but one hinged on the availability of facts as presented in the CCTV footage at the panel.”

“I think there were too many emotions attached to the incidence that the critical elements were missed. The presence of soldiers indeed infuriated some without regards to its mission and what would have happened in an already riotous situation. Do not forget that earlier in the day there had been skirmishes in parts of the state that led to the destruction of properties and deaths as well which was responsible for the imposition of a curfew by the Lagos state government.”

“My view is that the intervention of the soldiers was to prevent a further escalation of the conflict and not otherwise as insinuated in many quarters with the narrative that live ammunition was fired into the crowd. I sincerely think that would have been irresponsible, but that wasn’t the case.”

When asked if the CCTV footage revealed soldiers firing into the crowd of peaceful protesters, he debunked it stating that none of such was seen in the CCTV footage.

“I watched the footage; likewise, many others and the visuals were quite impressive. There was no time that it captured soldiers firing into the crowd; what was seen were soldiers approaching the crowd with their riffles faced upwards. There was also a bit of interaction between the soldiers and some front liners at the tollgate before shots were fired into the air and not into the crowd because if that weren’t the case, those front-liners would have gone down. But no, instead some of them approached the soldiers’ afterwards.”

“With my experience having covered conflict situations in different parts of the world for over 20 years, I have seen where excessive force was used during civil uprisings, and the incidence at the Lekki Tollgate cannot be regarded as such because there would have been no way the number of deaths would not run into hundreds if that had been the case. Don’t also forget that it was a riotous situation and there is bound to be pandemonium in such instances which was exactly what the CCTV footage revealed.”

He also stated that the CCTV footage revealed a professional display by the soldiers at the Lekki Tollgate.

“What I saw was an improvement in the conduct of the Nigerian Army whose operations I have been privileged to have covered as a freelance journalist. It tells that is an emphasis of abiding by the rules of engagement in quelling civil uprisings because the world is a global space and new media age has made accountability a top priority. The soldiers displayed this much, and it is contrary to what was speculated in certain quarters.”

Mr. Edwards consequently advised Nigerians to also verify pieces of information before concluding as there are lots of mischief-makers that thrive in spreading unsubstantiated information to suit their purpose.

“This is the era of fake news and Nigerians must imbibe the habit of verifying information in the public space to avoid been misled because the consequences can be quite depressing especially when it is realized that critical decisions have been taken on the strength of falsehood.”

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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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