Army Condemns Attack on Troops in Nasarawa State
Nokai Origin, Abuja
The Nigerian Army has strongly condemned the unprovoked attack on troops and patrol vehicles in a recent protest that occurred along Lafia-Makurdi Road in Nasarawa State.
It would be recalled that protesters blocked the major highway in response to the outcome of the Court of Appeal’s ruling on the gubernatorial election in the state.
In a statement by the Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, the Army expressed its utmost concern and disappointment at the actions of the protesters, who resorted to blocking the major highway, causing tortuous traffic gridlock to motorists and attacking troops’ patrol vehicles.
The statement further said the same set of protesters who attacked patrol vehicles conveying troops on legitimate duty, have turned around to spuriously allege that troops’ convoy rammed into the protesters.
The Army said it is on record from available video footage and visual images of the protest, that troops conducted the crowd dispersal professionally by ensuring the safety of citizens and protecting public infrastructure.
The Nigerian Army stressed that it recognises and respects the rights of citizens to express their grievances through peaceful protests. However, it is pertinent to emphasise that such protests must be conducted within the confines of the law, ensuring the safety and security of all parties involved. The resort to violence, destruction of public property, and assault on security personnel is unacceptable and goes against the principles of peaceful protest the statement said.
The troops according to the Nigerian Army were deployed to maintain law and order, and ensure the safety of all citizens, including the protesters and public infrastructure. They were operating under strict rules of engagement with the primary objective of preventing further escalation of violence and maintaining peace.
The action of the protesters therefore in pelting stones at troops and attacking patrol vehicles not only endangered the lives of the personnel but also undermined the peaceful nature of the protest.
The Nigerian Army urged all individuals and groups involved in protests to exercise restraint and engage in peaceful and constructive dialogue. Resorting to violence it says only exacerbates the situation and hampers progress toward resolving any grievances.
The Army therefore called on community and religious leaders as well as other stakeholders to play their part in promoting peace and harmony in their communities. It assured the public that it remains apolitical and committed to the protection and safety of all citizens.
The Army further stressed that it will continue to work closely with other security agencies to ensure the safety and security of the people of Nasarawa State and the nation as a whole without tolerating any form of violence.
The Nigerian Army also entreats the media and the public to exercise caution in reporting and disseminating information by ensuring accuracy and fairness as all work together to build a peaceful and prosperous Nigeria.