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The Nigerian Army on Monday described the allegation of extortion against its personnel in Edo State as a deliberate orchestration of falsehood circulated to deliberately smear its image.
The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig.- General Mohammed Yerima, in a statement, reacted to a video clip alleging that army personnel were collecting ₦1000 from luxury buses along Agbor-Benin road.
Yerima explained that it was also alleged in the said video that pandemonium ensued following an allegation that transporters refused to pay the illegal toll.
According to him, the analysis of the video and several confirmatory enquiries of the video revealed that it was a deliberate orchestration of falsehood and a gross misrepresentation of facts.
He said, while the Nigerian Army recognises the right of Nigerians to hold and share opinions, especially on social media, it shouldn’t be used to spread deliberate falsehood.
Yerima said, ‘A situation where deliberate misrepresentation of facts and fabrication of outright falsehood is being orchestrated in the social media to tarnish the image and reputation of the military is not and should not be acceptable.’
The army spokesperson said that there was the imposition of a statewide curfew by the Edo government following the aftermath of the End SARs protest, adding that the order had yet to be reviewed.
Yerima said it was to the curfew that motorists usually park a few meters away from the checkpoint mounted by soldiers and await the opening of the road by 05:00hrs daily.
He said 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, isn’t under the jurisdiction of the government of Edo.
Yerima said, ‘The isolated protest happened on February 17 at about 2230hrs.’
‘This situation was brought under control professionally by troops who were conscious of the rules of engagement and code of conduct for internal security operations.’
AFRICA TODAY NEWS, NEW YORK