The Coalition for Truth and Justice (CTJ) says the Nigerian Army didn’t breach its rules of engagement at the Lekki tollgate in Lagos or anywhere in the country during the EndSARS protests.
According to the coalition, the troops acted in its usual professional manner and have been agents of stabilization, instrumental to restoration of peace.
The Coalition for Truth and Justice made this revelation in a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Barrister Timothy Charles, on Wednesday, in Abuja.
As a followup to the army’s statement on Tuesday, the CTJ said it carried out a preliminary investigation to ascertain the actual state of things.
It said from the footages reviewed, the troops were captured firing blank rounds to the air that couldn’t have killed anyone.
The coalition admitted that the sole confirmed fatality from the Lekki Toll gate incident was as a result of blunt force trauma and not gunshot.
With these and other “overwhelming proof”, the CTJ concluded that there was no massacre as being portrayed by “anarchists”.
It, however, urged relevant authorities to thoroughly investigate key people among the protesters, adding that it is possible that they may have opened fire on their own members.
Read full statement below:
The Coalition for Truth and Justice (CTJ), after a careful review of available information, has reached the conclusion that the Nigerian Army did not breach its rules of engagement during the incidence at Lekki Toll Plaza and indeed any other part of Lagos state and the entire country in the course of the #EndSARS protests.
Contrary to the ongoing vilification campaign by pro-looters individuals and organizations, emerging facts rather suggest that the Nigerian Army has been an agent of stabilization that was instrumental to restoration of peace in many of the cities across the country with the curtailing of the violence that had threatened to spiral out of control.
CTJ, in response to the statement issued by the Nigerian Army Tuesday night, has carried out its preliminary investigations and far from what everyone had said, we studied the situation and came up with a clear understanding that the Nigerian Army did not breach its Rules of Engagement in all the instances claimed by propagandists.
While soldiers were being accused of shooting into the crowd of protesters at Lekki Toll Plaza, it is interesting to note that every single video clip shared by the #EndSARS protesters depicted the soldiers as firing into the air. The loud sound of the gunshots in the videos indicated that what the soldiers were firing were blank rounds while the silver shell casings retrieved from the scene by the protesters further confirmed that the rounds were blank and couldn’t have killed anyone.
We also noted that the bullets that the protesters allegedly claimed were extracted from the supposed remains of their killed colleagues did not show any deformation or denting as would be expected of projectiles that had made impact at high velocity. It is not likely that a bullet will hit someone and still retain its shape.
Furthermore, shooting 15 people dead as claimed by the #EndSARS protesters would have flooded the scene with anything upwards of 75 liters of human blood, which would have been visible for all to see on the morning of the following day. There was no such and there were no remains, except for the tenuous lie that the corpses were handed over to soldiers, something that turned out to be false since no mortuary has reported receiving the remains and the foreign partners of the protesters have not been able to come up with satellite images of freshly dug mass graves as they are used to alleging.
What we were able to establish is that the one confirmed fatality from the Lekki Toll Gate incident was from blunt force trauma and not gunshot. It is therefore trite for CTJ to point out that almost every single person that the cyber wing of the protest had trended as being killed at the toll gate have returned from the dead to refute news of their demise just as pictures from movie shoots that they attempted to use to discredit the Army have been exposed.
It is pertinent to point out that the other jurisdictions that the protesters are comparing Nigeria to would not stand by idle while arsonists and anarchists make life unbearable for other people while also destroying national assets and looting everywhere. In the United States, there have been instances when the national guard was called in to assist the civil police in curbing extreme protests. In the United Kingdom, during the 2011 London Riots, 92% of persons surveyed were opened to the Army being brought in to curtail the destruction by protesters.
Based on the insistence of the #EndSARS protesters that there was a massacre even in the absence of evidence and in the face of overwhelming proof to the contrary, CTJ finds it pertinent to demand a thorough investigation of key people among the protesters since it is possible that they opened fire on their own members within the protest in order to malign the government by accusing the Army. This possibility is high because protesters had killed many police officers on the same day, set some ablaze and committed other atrocities while the military continued to exercise restraints.
Zainab Alli Flags Off Campaign Against Gender Based Violence In Otukpo
As the global campaign against Gender Based Violence (GBV) intensifies, Mrs. Zainab Alli, wife of the Executive Chairman of Otukpo Local Government, Rt. Hon. George Alli, on Friday 4th December 2020, flagged off the campaign in Otukpo.
This was according to a press statement signed by Desmond Oogwu , Special Adviser Media and Gender Affairs.
Mrs Zainab Alli, thanked the First Lady of Benue State, Mrs. Eunice Ortom Ph.D, for throwing her weight behind the campaign agaisnt gender based violence.
Also speaking to women and mothers, drawn mostly from the 13 wards of Otukpo Local Government Council at the Otukpo LG secretariat, Mrs. Alli further said, “the fight against Gender Based Violence has become more necessary due to the increasing rate of violence against women and the girl child being urging mothers to speak up”.
She said, “As mothers and women, all of you seated here have either been victims of one violent crimes against women at one time or another or you know some someone who was a victim. I urge you all to speak up and liberate someone from hell on earth. Even house helps who are sometimes male or femaile, suffers abuses in different homes too”.
She said the media is replete with stories of gender based violence at home or in the streets and that the greatest weapon of the perpetrators is the silence of mothers. The Chairman’s wife also took the advocacy to St. Monica Girls Secondary where she told the students not to let anyone touch their sensitive body part, adding that should anybody touch them unnecessarily they should raise a cry.
Also, a girls child advocate and human Rights Activist, Mrs. Julie Ooja Okoh, narrated and gave vivid accounts of confrontations with rapists and child molesters as she decried the long and difficult process it takes in order to secure justice for victims against offenders.
“This battle must be fought and we will continue to fight until we win. Even if I die in the process, I don’t care. Another person will continue from where I stopped. Mothers, you have to speak up. Violence against women should never be tolerated as part of culture; it is not. Our mothers and the judiciary are our headache”, she lamented.
Also, another advocate, Mrs. Ene Lech, encouraged women and girls to develop themselves and should always report anybody, including their fathers to the appropriate authorities whenever someone behaves inappropriately around them.
The first Lady of Benue State, Dr Mrs. Eunice Ortom, ably represented by Mr. Tine Agenor, Coordinator, ESLF, in his address remarked that it not only women who suffers domestic violence. He said even men and boys suffer different forms of abuses too. He said people should make the comfort a place of comfort for both the male and the female child.
The Counselor Representing Ewulo ward at the Otukpo Legislative Assembly, also advised the students to take their studies seriously and and should never loose sight of their intended future. The Principal of St. Monica Secondary School, Rev. Sister. Grcae Adikwu thanked the guest for the visit to the school and pray God to grant the team safe trip back to their various destination.
Nigeria Army Records Success Neutralize Bandits Also Recover Arms
The Nigeria Army on Friday said scores of bandits were neutralized between 12 to 29 of November, 2020 following activities of Troops of Operation Sahel Sanity in the Northwest Zone.
This was contained in a press statement issued by the acting director, defence media operations, Brig-Gen. Benard Onyeuko.
According to him, on 15 November 2020, gallant troops while conducting routine night patrol came in contact with armed bandits at Yar Tasha Village in Zurmi LGA of Zamfara State. On sighting the troops advance, the criminals immediately started firing sporadically but the troops displayed tactical superiority, closed in and overpowered the bandits with overwhelming firepower.
In the process 3 of the bandits were neutralized, 3 AK-47 rifles with 3 magazines loaded with live rounds of 7.62 mm Special ammunition were recovered by the troops. Some of the bandits however, managed to escape by the skin of their teeth with varying degrees of injuries.
Similarly, on 16 November 2020, the gallant troops while acting on credible intelligence about kidnappers activities at Garin Arawa in Tangaza LGA of Sokoto State, swiftly moved to the area and made contact with the criminals. During the encounter, the gallant troops neutralized one of the kidnappers as others escaped in disarray into the bushes owing to troops superior fighting prowess. In the aftermath of the encounter, troops recovered one AK-47 Rifle mounted with a magazine and one motorcycle.
Also in another development, on 21 November 2020, troops conducted a robust clearance Operation and assaulted bandits enclaves at Mararaban Kawaye and Gobirawa villages in Safana LGA of Katsina State respectively.
The gallant troops encountered initial resistance at Gobirawa but successfully over-powered the bandits. In the aftermath of the encounter, 6 bandits were neutralized while 4 AK-47 Rifles, 3 Dane guns and 2 motorcycles were captured. Troops continue to crackdown on the nefarious activities of the bandits and other criminal elements in the general area.
Furthermore, on 21 November 2020, troops acting on timely information smashed a bandit’s syndicate hideout at Galadi village in Shinkafi LGA of Zamfara State. During the operation, 2 bandits were neutralized. A meticulous cordon and search by the troops led to the recovery of 2 AK-47 Rifles in the hideout.
In the same vain, on 22 November 2020, troops conducting farm patrol along Gidan Ruwa axis of Zurmi LGA of Zamfara State, came into contact with some marauding bandits. On sighting the advancing troops, the suspects fired sporadically in an attempt to escape. Nevertheless the resilient troops pursued them with heavy volume of fire leading to the neutralization of one of the escaping bandits and recovering of one AK-47 Rifle loaded with 29 rounds of 7.62mm Special ammunition in the process.
Accordingly, in other operations conducted, on 12 November 2020, troops deployed at Forward Operation Base Faskari during a routine patrol arrested 2 suspected bandits’ collaborators named Lawal Madawaki and Hassan Ali at Gobirawa village in Faskari LGA of Katsina State. Furthermore on 13 November 2020, troops acting on credible Information arrested 3 suspected bandits’ collaborators named Abdulmumini Maidoka, Lawal Abdullahi and Sanusi Abdullahi at Majafa village in Kankara LGA of Katsina State. Suspects were apprehended in connection with alleged involvement in banditry activities in the general area.
Additionally, troops during a raid operation at an identified bandits associates’ hideout at Maikano village in Jibia LGA of Katsina State arrested 2 suspects named Lawal Danladi and Rane Bello.
Equally, on same day, troops acting on a tip off arrested a suspected bandits collaborator named Bello Ardo at Yargoje in Kankara LGA of Katsina State. Suspect was arrested following credible Information about his unwholesome activities with suspected bandits in the area.
In another development, on 22 November 2020, troops raided an illegal mining site at Kadauri area in Maru LGA of Zamfara State and arrested 11 suspected illegal miners. Furthermore, on 24 November 2020, following credible information, troops busted a cattle rustlers camp at Dankori village in Mani LGA of Katsina State leading to the arrest of 3 suspected cattle rustlers while 300 cows were also recovered at the scene.
Similarly, on 28 November 2020, troops while on routine border patrol intercepted and apprehended 4 suspected armed robbers dressed in military camouflage inside a Honda vehicle at Macrine village in Yelwa LGA of Kebbi State. All arrested suspects have been handed over to appropriate authorities for prosecution.
He said in summary, in all the operations conducted between the period 12 – 29 November 2020, 12 armed bandits were neutralized, 11 AK-47 Rifles and 3 Dane guns were captured. Furthermore, 8 suspected bandits collaborators and 11 illegal miners were arrested. Equally 4 suspected armed robbers and 3 cattle rustlers were nabbed by troops while 300 cows were recovered during the operations.
Insurgency: Buratai Harps On Collective Action, Citizen’s Participation
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai, says a collective effort from citizens is required to put an end to the insurgency in the North-East.
According to the Army chief, it would take the combined actions of both civilians and the military to win the war against terrorism.
Buratai said this on his verified Facebook page on Tuesday.
He wrote, “There is general misunderstanding of what insurgency and terrorism entail. There is likelihood of terrorism persisting in Nigeria for another 20 years. It only depends on the level of escalation and the appropriate responses by all stakeholders both civil and military authorities.
“Also by both local and international actors. Citizens’ responsibility is equally important and imperative. All must cooperate to contain the lingering insecurity. Let there be collective action and responsibility.”
Similarly, former Executive Secretary, National Health Insurance Scheme, Prof Usman Yusuf insisted that the security situation in the country calls for collective efforts from all Nigerians.
Speaking with Arise News on Wednesday, Yusuf said, “The government and all Nigerians must agree that things are not working and the government must involve the people . The way security is done in this country is that things come from Abuja without involving people. We are in big trouble, the insecurity in this country has increased in recent times with killing of people, raping our women, cattle being rustled, and villages burnt. Its high time the federal government puts this nation on war footing and mobilise every body”.
Yusuf also suggested that communities and the military should train the youths to fight against killings, kidnapping and banditry.
“No nation can call itself secure if it does not have control of it’s airspace, waterways and highways and forests,” he said.
“We cannot be secure and will only be deluding ourselves if we think things will change and if we should continue like this. Everybody must sit up and know that security is not for the government and military alone but ours. I have friends in the United States of America who are from Somalia who call me and say they are worried about Nigeria because this is the way Somalia started and look at where we are today.
“ When we speak, it’s not that we are against the government, we brought them in, and they must do what we ask. If government doesn’t protect us, then it’s of no good to us. I call on every Nigerian to speak up”.
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