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Lekki Debacle & Nigerian Military Image - Politics - Nairaland

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Lekki Debacle & Nigerian Military Image by alasane: 1:12pm On Nov 18, 2020
For me, the saddest thing about Lekki is that the military was invited in the first place, and that it responded the way it did.
To do what exactly?
1. Scare the protesters away by their mere appearance?
2. Disperse them by shooting blank bullets? Both seemed to have worked.

But at what cost to the image of our military and the psyche of the citizens?

Lekki has been used to perpetuate the myth...actually, the reality...that the Nigerian soldier is to be feared by the people; not respected; not loved.
I would rather be loved and respected than feared.

I have stood in line at a grocery store in Augusta, Georgia (in the US) in uniform, and had two elderly women approached me and asked if they could give me a hug. Of course, I consented, and they both said as we hugged: "Thank you for your service to our country."

I have been in a grocery store in Virginia and had a total stranger offer to pay for everything in my cart.

I was once on a flight with my daughter from California to Toronto, Canada (in civilian clothes) when the crew asked for military officers to identify themselves. My daughter and I were upgraded from Economy cabin to Business. As we got up to transfer, our entire cabin erupted in hand claps and people were screaming: "Thank you for your service to our country."

Anonymous people have sent waiters and waitresses to me in restaurants with the offer to foot my bill. They also sent their "Thank you for your service to our country" message.

At Departure Halls in US airports, Service members (as US military members are referred to) are often called to board at the same time Business Class people are called. You don't even need to be in uniform. They believe you when you step out to board.

Hotels and car rentals have "military discounts". There are even some big departmental stores, especially in "military cities" that offer "military discounts".

There are banks that offer lower interests to Service members!
I can go on and on.

But I think you get the gist. American Service members are not destitute. They are well-paid. They do not need financial charities from people.
The people just love and respect them.

Apart from the obvious fact that we serve to defend the nation, we are also not above the law.

In fact, we are held more stringently accountable for infractions of civil laws.

For instance, I could very well lose my commission and be dismissed from service ("dismiss" here means no benefits at all) for beating my wife!

The police can arrest us just the same way they arrest civilians, although they will immediately hand you over to your Command where you'll be disciplined harsher and faster under the Uniformed Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

While in the US, (other than members of the National Guard) we do not carry loaded weapons outside military bases.

In fact, when going from one base to another or to a firing range, live bullets are conveyed in a different vehicle than the one taking the soldiers. And guess what? Armed police are used to escort the soldiers and the ammo!

NB: The National Guard mentioned above is an arm of the military that is placed under the state governor's command. The governor gets to call them out in times of crises...like protests that overwhelm the police or during natural disasters like floods, earthquakes etc. They are trained in crowd control and evacuation of large population. They carry live rounds when on such duties.

I am familiar with the training that the Nigerian military undergo. Crowd control in cities is not included. They just...as we say here...wing it.

The Nigerian military is rolled up into the security architecture of most Nigerian states...as it should. Every arms-bearing entity, including Civil Defense Corps, local hunters (and I dare say...armed AMOTEKUN) should be rolled into the security architecture of their respective states. But the governor SHOULD be the ONLY person authorized to deploy them for operations within his jurisdiction. He SHOULD be the one to issue their Rules of Engagement (ROE) for the specific crisis.
And this arrangement should be made transparent to every Nigerian...that even within the states, elements of the military are subordinated to civilian authority...which is what we should have in a democracy.


What if someone in the crowd at Lekki was armed with an Uzi...with live bullets...and started firing at the soldiers once he realized they were shooting blanks? Blanks are used in training to teach steady aim, breathing and trigger control. They are also used in simulations.

Lekki was no simulation. Neither was it training. It was the real thing.

The Nigerian soldier is already fighting and dying INSIDE Nigeria trying to protect the country's territorial integrity against non-state actors. He/she should no longer be fighting the "jackboot" image...the image of ruthlessness and cowardly attacks on unarmed, peaceful citizens.

So that hopefully, Nigerians will begin to love and respect (NOT FEAR) them for their service to our country.

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Re: Lekki Debacle & Nigerian Military Image by Goldencheese(m): 1:50pm On Nov 18, 2020
OP, thank you for writing about your experience as an American soldier and juxtaposing it with Nigerian soldiers. The truth is, live rounds were used by the military on #ENDSARS youths protesting at the Lekki Toll Plaza. Have you not wondered that the same NA that initially denied their involvement in the shooting and prevaricated for days over the incident later accepted that they were actually there but on the invitation of the Lagos State Governor? See this CNN report which is a thorough investigation of what transpired that day.

Re: Lekki Debacle & Nigerian Military Image by gidgiddy: 1:56pm On Nov 18, 2020
The same people crying about Kekki toll gate shooting are the ones who kept silent, or even supported the Army shooting unarmed protesters like IPOB and IMN

So it took the shooting of ENDSARS protesters at Lekki for these people to realise that the shooting of an unarmed protester is very bad thing?

Re: Lekki Debacle & Nigerian Military Image by CodeTemplar: 1:59pm On Nov 18, 2020
. . . . blacks are not whites

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