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Military: Video of House Majority Leader, Doguwa Firing AK-47 Rifle Misrepresented
Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) said yesterday that the viral video depicting the Leader of the House of Representatives, Alhassan Doguwa, firing an AK-47 rifle guided by soldiers was misrepresented.
The viral video accentuated claims that the lawmaker allegedly used a rifle to open fire on voters, prompting his arrest and prosecution by the Nigeria Police.
But a statement issued by the Acting Director of Defence Information (DDI), Brig Gen Tukur Gusau, said contrary to the impression created by the authors, the viral video was taken at Falgore Forest Military Training Camp during the 3 Brigade Nigerian Army Training Exercise where he was invited as a special guest.
“The attention of the Defence Headquarters has been drawn to a viral video circulating on social media platforms, where the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon Alhassan Ado Doguwa, was seen firing an AK 47 rifle guided by military personnel.
“The Defence Headquarters wishes to state that the video is a calculated attempt by mischief makers to discredit the Armed Forces of Nigeria and dent its image before the good people of this country and the world at large,” it said.
The statement said the video was taken at Falgore Forest Military Training Camp during the 3 Brigade Nigerian Army Training Exercise, where the federal lawmaker was invited as a special guest.
“It is worthy to state that when senior citizens and special guests are invited for such exercises, they are accorded the honour to participate in the firing exercise as a ceremonial firing party without any intention in making them trained gunners or to master the use of firearms.
“Ceremonial firing in such an exercise is the practice in the world over and is not new in the Armed Forces of Nigeria as several other senior citizens have participated in such exercises in the past,” the statement explained.
The military high command insisted that the viral video was posted with the intent to dent the image of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, especially at this period when the role of the Armed Forces in the last presidential and National Assembly elections was hailed by Nigerians and the international community.
“In addition, some clerics have equally released audio clips containing wrong interpretations of the Majority Leader’s speech at the occasion.
“This doctored interpretation of the speech is capable of instigating a crisis, thus leading to heightened tension as the country prepares for a smooth transition to another elected government,” it said.
It said the military would not train or arm any individual or group to take up arms against the citizenry.
“The Defence Headquarters wishes to assure Nigerians that on no occasion would the Armed Forces of Nigeria engage in training or arming any individual or group of persons to take up arms against law-abiding citizens. As a responsible force, we will continue to discharge our constitutional responsibilities while remaining apolitical to strengthen the democratic values of our great nation.
“We also want to use this opportunity to advise mischief makers not to dent the image of the Armed Forces with senseless videos and unconfirmed audio clips but rather channel their energy in making sure our country continues to strive higher in the preservation of our democratic gains,” the statement added.