Posted by News Express | 23 February 2021 | 594 times
By JOHN NWOKOCHA, Abuja
Nigerian Army has denied social media reports alleging that soldiers blocked the Benin-Agbor Expressway and collected illegal toll of 1000 naira from each luxury bus that plied the road, saying it is deliberate orchestration of falsehood and gross misrepresentation of facts produced and circulated with intent to smear the image of the Nigerian Army
The Nigerian Army observed that all manner of video clips have been circulating round the social media purportedly portraying one scene or the other involving soldiers extorting N1000 from luxury buses and motorists that plied the Benin-Agbor Expressway, which the soldiers allegedly blocked in order to carry out their illegal toll.
Directorate of Army Public Relations in a press statement issued on Monday by the Director of Army Public Relations, Brigd-General Mohammed Ibrahim and made available to NewsExpress said the army is not unaware of all manner of video clips.
But it argues that video clips both real and manipulated have been springing up in the social media purportedly depicting one scene or the other involving personnel of the Nigerian Army.
“One of such videos was the one said to have been shot in Edo State in which soldiers were alleged to have blocked the Benin -Agbor Expressway demanding illegal toll of N1000 from each luxurious bus that ply the road.
According to the statement, the said video clip, also alleged that pandemonium ensued following an allegation that transporters refused to pay the illegal toll.
The army therefore averred that having analyzed the video and made several confirmatory enquiries, the Directorate wishes to state that the video and message conveyed in it, was a deliberate orchestration of falsehood and gross misrepresentation of facts produced and circulated to deliberately smear the image of the Nigerian Army.
“From our checks, there was imposition of a state wide curfew by the Edo State Government; sequel to the aftermath of the #End SARs protest.
“The order is yet to be reviewed due to the resurgence of the COVID 19 pandemic in Edo State. Consequent upon this, motorists park a few meters away from the check point mounted by soldiers and await the opening of the road by 0500hrs daily”. The army insists.
The army observed that the issue of the road closure has been a long time problem with night time commercial drivers who insisted that the road being a federal road is not under the jurisdiction of the government of Edo State.
Providing insight the army said the isolated protest happened on 17 February 2021 at about 2230hrs.
A situation according to the army was brought under control professionally by troops who were conscious of the rules of engagement and code of conduct for Internal Security operations.
“While the Nigerian Army recognizes the right of Nigerians to hold and share opinions especially on the social media, it should not be used to spread deliberate falsehood. A situation where deliberate misrepresentation of facts and fabrication of outright falsehood are being orchestrated in the social media to tarnish the image and reputation of the military is not and should not be acceptable”. The statement reads.
However, the army reassures law abiding public that it remains a professional force that respects the fundamental human rights of the citizenry in line with global best practices.
Urging the general public to discountenance the ‘false information contained in that video’, the army said it would neither condone willful breach of law and order nor tolerate indiscipline on the part of its personnel.
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