Nigerian Army Reacts To Attack On Troops By Nasarawa Protesters
THE Nigerian Army has strongly condemned what it described as an unprovoked attack on troops and patrol vehicles in a recent protest that occurred along Lafia-Makurdi Road in Nasarawa State.
The protesters were said to have blocked the major highway in response to the outcome of the Court of Appeal’s ruling on the gubernatorial election in the state.
“We express our 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 army said in a statement signed by Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, Director Army Public Relations.
“Sadly, this same set of protesters who attacked patrol vehicles conveying troops on legitimate duty had turned around to spuriously allege that the troops’ convoy rammed into the protesters.
“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. Suffice it to state that the Nigerian Army 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.
“Our troops 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 in pelting stones at troops and attacking patrol vehicles not only endangered the lives of our personnel but also undermined the peaceful nature of the protest.”
The Army urged all individuals and groups involved in protests to exercise restraint and engage in peaceful and constructive dialogue.
The Nigerian Army warned that resorting to violence only exacerbates the situation and hampers progress towards resolving any grievances.
“We call on community and religious leaders, as well as other stakeholders, to play their part in promoting peace and harmony in their communities.”