A special report has revealed that Amnesty International succumbed to social media exaggeration and fake news in its report on the Lekki toll gate shootings in Lagos State.
The Centre for International and Strategic Studies (CISS) said it arrived at this conclusion after a systematic analysis of the events that led to the escalation of violence in the aftermath of the deployment of troops.
In its report signed by Special Rapporteur, Prof Peter Maidoki, the CISS said Amnesty International was hasty in its conclusion and failed to do a thorough job.
It also rubbished the claim as regards the time soldiers arrived at the toll gate, noting that AI relied on the bulk of the misinformation passed around in the social media space.
Contrary to Amnesty’s report, the centre noted that soldiers at the venue of the protest fired shots in the air to disperse the protesters and not directly at the crowd.
The CISS, though, accepted in its report that protesters may have suffered injuries during the pandemonium that ensued.
From videos scrutinized as well as information gathered from various stakeholders, the centre said the report of soldiers loading dead bodies into their truck is false.
While acknowledging that there may be a desperate campaign to discredit the military, the CISS said Amnesty’s deep-rooted contempt for the Nigerian Army is well-known.
The centre, however, urged relevant authorities in the country to begin the process of profiling those individuals and groups whose actions contributed to the escalation of the conflict.
It also advised the Federal Government to continually engage the citizens on the danger of a single narrative on issues of national concern.
Read full report below:
The Centre for International and Strategic Studies undertook a systematic analysis of the events that led to the escalation of violence in the aftermath of the deployment of soldiers to the Lekki Tollgate where EndSARS protesters were gathered.
The objective of the systematic analysis was to put issues in proper perspective for the generality of Nigerians who are fed continuously with various and varying narratives by some groups and associations.
This interim report consequently x-rayed the various factors that led to the skirmish in a most objective manner devoid of any form of bias in its conclusion. This is also on the heels that the Centre for International and Strategic Studies has built a strong reputation over the years in its interventions and contributions to the national discourse in Nigeria.
The critical issues in the incident in Lagos have been centred on the involvement of the Nigerian Army in the Lekki EndSARS protest where it was alleged that soldiers fired gunshots in a crowd of peaceful protesters armed only with the national flag. It was also alleged that over 78 persons were killed as a result of gunshots injuries sustained.
Human Rights organization, Amnesty International in its report on the incident stated that footage collated showed how “at approximately 6.45 pm, the Nigerian military opened fire on the #EndSARS protesters who were peacefully calling for an end to police brutality”.
Amnesty International also alleged that shortly before the shootings, CCTV cameras at the Lekki toll gate, where #EndSARS protesters had been camped for two weeks, were removed by government officials and the electricity was cut – an apparent attempt to hide evidence.
It also stated that some of those killed and injured at both grounds were allegedly taken away by the military.
The Centre for International and Strategic Studies given the gravity of the allegations levelled against the Nigerian Army, and the need to ensure that the extent of the Army’s involvement in the conflict is determined engaged some critical stakeholders in Lagos state, as well as other individuals and groups that witnessed the incident on the spot.
From pour interactions and analysis, there seem to be a non-correlation with the figures presented by Amnesty International and that of other stakeholders. It is our considered view that Amnesty International was hasty in its conclusion with regards to the number of deaths recorded at the Lekki Tollgate incident.
The claim made with regards the time soldiers arrived at the Lekki Tollgate were also inaccurate as it was realized that Amnesty International relied on the bulk of the misinformation passed around in the social media space in arriving at its conclusion.
It must be stated that there is a possibility that Amnesty International was caught up with the exaggerations in the social media space and didn’t do due diligence with information at their disposal before going to press in its narration of the events that transpired at the Lekki Tollgate.
Amnesty International from our findings indeed contributed immensely to the bulk of the misinformation that made the round with regards to the actual number of casualties recorded at the Lekki Tollgate.
The Centre for International and Strategic Studies also realized that the position of Amnesty International couldn’t be substantiated due to lack of facts. From the video recordings analyzed, soldiers at the venue of the protest indeed fired shots. But not into the crowd as alleged by Amnesty International and other individuals and groups.
There was also no record of soldiers loading dead bodies into their truck as alleged. All the videos scrutinized as well as information gathered from various stakeholders, it was realized that the allegation is false and meant to disparage the efforts of the Nigerian Army.
Our findings also indicated that the soldiers at the Lekki Tollgate shot in the air in an attempt to disperse the crowd and that led to pandemonium amongst the protesters resulting in injuries of various magnitudes.
This fact was indeed corroborated by multiple sources, including some of those present at the venue of the shootings. It was established that the soldiers didn’t fire shots into the crowd as alleged and if that was the case, the whole place would have been littered with dead bodies.
The position of the Centre for International and Strategic Studies after due consultation and interrogation of issues takes the position that there is a subtle campaign to discredit the Nigerian Army in its involvement in internal security operations.
This position is hinged on the fact that lots of misinformation made the rounds accusing the Nigerian Army of crimes against humanity, whereas it was the intervention of the Nigerian Army that indeed saved the day.
In the concluding analysis, it suffices to state that Amnesty International through its actions with regards to the EndSARS protest indeed harbours a deep-rooted contempt for the Nigerian Army. This was evident in the way and the manner it castigated the efforts of the Nigerian Army in the restoration of law and order in the country.
Amnesty International and other organizations disregarded the negative effect of their actions in the polity. Consequently, they made allegations against the Nigerian Army that from all indications cannot be substantiated.
It consequently might not be out of place if indeed Amnesty International has an ulterior motive aimed at discrediting the Nigerian Army hence it’s narrative on the Lekki Tollgate incident, which from all available facts lacked objectivity, but laced with half-truths and illogical conclusions.
The Centre for International and Strategic Studies as a result of the findings in this interim report wishes to make the following recommendations:
That the Nigerian Army authorities should begin the process of disabusing the minds of Nigerians that might have believed that shots were fired into the crowd of peaceful protesters.
That the relevant authorities in Nigeria should begin the process of profiling those individuals and groups whose actions contributed to the escalation of the conflict to bring them to face the full wrath of the law for spreading fake news and heating the polity unnecessarily.
That the government must continually engage the citizens on the danger of a single narrative on issues of national concern.
That the leadership of the Nigerian Army should continually train its personnel on internal security operations with regards to the rules of engagement.
Bandits Lay Siege To Armed Forces Command And Staff College, Jaji
Some criminals, suspected to be bandits, are currently laying siege around the premises of Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC) located in Jaji, Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
Their mission, according to some locals in the community who spoke to our correspondent during a telephone conversation, was to abduct some staff of the college and the communities around the area.
This is coming in less than two months after bandits stormed the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, Afaka, Mando, also in Kaduna and kidnapped no fewer than 39 students.
AFCSC is a training facility for the Nigerian Armed Forces, including the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force and Nigerian Navy.
A resident of the area, who simply identified himself as Adamu, told Daily Trust via telephone that the bandits have always surrounded the institution while terrorising the communities around the college.
“It is only Allah that has been saving us. They (bandits) have always rustled cows in our communities. Military operatives do engage them in gun battle anytime they come around, that is why we don’t have major casualties yet,” Adamu said.
The Commandant of the college, Air Marshal Olayinka Alade, confirmed this on Wednesday in Abuja when he visited the Army Headquarters to brief Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Attahiru Ibrahim, on the development and other issues in the institution.
Alade said the institution has decided to launch impromptu searching and clearance operations in some communities where the bandits are operating around the college having informed General Officer Commanding 1 Division.
“There are some communities around the school that have developed and because it is like part of the college, maybe they are hiding under that cover, so some bandits are there. Because of that, there is collaboration with other institution’s heads in the college. Constantly, we try to conduct an impromptu searching. We conduct search and patrol from time to time.
“What we discovered now is that, not too far ahead, some communities… it is like all these bandits have made all that place their aim, so I discussed with GOC 1 Div. From time to time, we need to carry out clearance operations,” the AFCSC Commandant said.
The Commandant further disclosed that the bandits rustled some cows behind the college on Tuesday, April 13 – a development that led to gun duel between them and the military operatives.
He, however, did not disclose whether there was any casualty, noting that he came to brief the COAS so as not to be surprised if he hears anything subsequently.
According to him, “In fact, yesterday (Tuesday), I was told that some bandits came to come and rustle some cows just behind us. There was an exercise that was carried out by the NACI. They actually encountered these bandits, they had to exchange fire during the exercise.
“Those are the things we’re trying to ensure that we are not surprised if they have come that close, then, we need to sit tight and ensure we clear that place.”
Deputy Nigeria Ambassador to Jordan, Ibrahim Mohammed,(1st left) the Managing Director Ministry of Tourism and Antiquiies, Abed Al Razzaq Arabiyat, (middle) Executive Secretary NCPC, Yakubu Pam (right) during a courtesy visit paid to the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in Jordan recently
Coalition Warns Anti-Vaxxers, Urges Nigerians To Disregard Fake News Of COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects
The National Vanguard on Covid-19 Administration and Advocacy has urged Nigerians to treat reports of side effects from the AstraZeneca jab as fake news, noting that some elements are out to frustrate the ongoing vaccination exercise.
This follows the claim of blood vomit by a woman in Kaduna after allegedly being administered the vaccine.
While the state government has vowed to investigate the report, the National Vanguard on Covid-19 Administration and Advocacy said the assertion is the handiwork of anti-vaxxers.
In a statement signed by its Director of Public Enlightenment, Samson Abu, on Saturday, the group, though, admitted potential side effects from the jab, added that some persons are out to sow fear in the minds of Nigerians.
Abu, therefore, appealed to Nigerians to disregard all fake news pertaining to the safety, efficacy and effects of the COVID-19 vaccine.
According to him, the supposed victim is an isolated case yet to be proven by any expert.
The group, however, urged Nigerians to continue to take the vaccine for their good and the safety of their loved ones around them
Read the full statement below:
The National Vanguard on Covid-19 Administration and Advocacy is appalled by the deployment of fake news by anti-vaccine elements in Nigeria in their bid to scare and discourage people from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine that is meant to protect against the Corona Virus and save lives.
The fake news, published with the headline “Woman vomits blood after taking COVID-19 vaccine” is a disingenuous attempt at creating a deepfake given the effort that was made to create the impression that one Hannatu Tanko was rushed to Gwamna Awan General Hospital in Kaduna State because she started vomiting blood after receiving the vaccine.
Interestingly, the same script was published by several blogs and a few undiscerning news sites without the publishers carrying out the necessary checks and without speaking with experts on what could have led to the woman’s condition.
The fake news also created the impression that there is coercion in the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine whereas people are voluntarily accepting the jab owing to their knowledge of how it protects one from catching the deadly virus. Such a desperate act could have only resulted from people that are keen on seeing the pandemic decimate humanity.
With more than half a million so far vaccinated, even if the account of the woman experiencing reactions to the vaccine were correct, the case would be an isolated one and the fact that sources claimed the woman is recovering confirms that the vaccine is safe while any unintended effect would be at worst temporary. We, therefore, find it unacceptable that the isolated and unproven instance is now being used by purveyors of fake news and anti-Vaxxers to discourage Nigerians from taking the vaccine. This is a huge disservice and unacceptable.
For the avoidance of doubts, experts’ views are required to confirm that what a person experiences after taking the jab is related to the vaccine. To do this, the experts would have ruled out that the symptoms exhibited by such are not caused by other underlying factors that coincidentally flared up at about the same time the person took their vaccine.
The National Vanguard on Covid-19 Vaccine Administration and Advocacy consequently warn detractors and anti-vaxxers in Nigeria that they have a responsibility to society to desist from sowing fear in the mind of the people especially when it is apparent that the fake news they are spreading has all the potential to hurt more people than save them.
We appeal to Nigerians to disregard all fake news about the safety, efficacy and effects of the COVID-19 vaccine and only based their decision to accept the jab or not on sound science, which would make them appreciate the benefits it offers. Nigerians, who truly value their wellbeing as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the world, should make it a personal responsibility to take the vaccine for their good and the safety of their loved ones around them.
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