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.”
Firm Donates COVID-19 Safety Kits To Ekiti Govt
A private firm, Wemmy Industries Limited on Friday, donated facemasks and other COVID-19 safety item to Ekiti State Government to curb the spread of the virus.
The items included 108 cartons of disposable surgical facemasks and 72 cartons of antiseptic hand wipes.
Mr John Egbedofo, Southwest Regional Manager of the firm said that the donation was in fulfillment of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Egbedofo added that the focus was to contribute to efforts at curtailing the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus.
He said the gesture would also be extended to severe medical facilities in the state including the Oba Adejugbe General Hospital in Ado Ekiti, Specialist hospitals in Ikole Ekiti and Ikere Ekiti.
Also to benefit are Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Ado Ekiti and Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido Ekiti.
Receiving the items on behalf of the government in Ado-Ekiti, the Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Dr Oyebanji Filani, said the medical consumables and personal protective equipment would assist in tackling communicable diseases.
Filani appreciated the company for the gesture and assured that the items would be used judiciously towards achieving the desired results.
He solicited the continued support of more corporate bodies, NGOs and individual philanthropists towards improving the lot of the people.
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr Akinjide Akinleye, described the donation as laudable and worthy of emulation by similar business outfits.
When Leaving Office, I Decided Not To ‘Remote-Control’ My Successor – Dickson
The immediate past governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, has explained why he distanced himself from the administration of Governor Douye Diri.
His explanation came amidst speculations that all was not well between him and Diri.
In a statement he personally signed on Thursday, Dickson, who represents Bayelsa West in the Senate, stated that it was his decision before exiting office to give whoever succeeded him the freedom to govern.
He said, “No one has a greater stake in the governor’s success than me. I am aware of the concerns raised about the distance I have kept since leaving office. This is deliberate and in consonance with my values and principles.
“While I was governor I took a conscious decision that whoever was going to succeed me was going to have the free hand to run his government with my full support. I am not one of those who believe that a governor should be remote-controlled.
“A governor should be free to take actions and decisions to pursue programmes, projects and policies he believes in. A governor must be in charge and I have always encouraged Governor Diri to take charge and to also take responsibility at all time.
“In the process, where he deems it, he can consult stakeholders for their inputs and advice and that the governor does with me and others.
This is why we did not enter into any agreement nor give the governor any condition for my and our full and total support other than to do his best for the state and the Ijaw nation and in doing so, he has our continuous support.”
Akeredolu Orders Recitation Of Oodua Anthem In Schools
The Ondo State Government has made it compulsory for all pupils and students in the state to recite the Oodua Anthem in their schools .
The order reportedly affects all the private and public institutions from primary to tertiary level in the state.
This was contained in a circular sent to all stakeholders from the state Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. The circular was signed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr Akin Asaniyan.
The circular, titled ‘Recitation of Oodua Anthem in all schools’, was made available to our correspondent on Thursday in Akure.
It read in part,“Please note that, at the just concluded inter-schools debate and award ceremony organised by Ondo State Ministry of Education Science and Technology, held on Thursday February 25, 2021, at the International Culture and Event Center (The Dome) , Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, announced that the state has adopted the Oodua Anthem and it is to be recited by the residents of the state.
“In the light of this development, Mr Governor has directed that the anthem is now compulsory in all public and private schools ( primary and secondary), as well as tertiary institutions in the state, to be recited by all students and teachers henceforth.”
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