Controversies over video of Nigerian soldier’s claim of poor weapons
The Nigerian Army said a video showing some troops fighting Boko Haram insurgents in the country’s northeast leaving the frontline because of outdated weapons was shot in 2014.
“The video was recorded in 2014 and therefore cannot be a true reflection of the present reality,” army spokesman Sani Usman said in a statement on Monday.
Usman did not, however, provide any additional information on the location or the identity of the troops in the video.
In the clip, a soldier said he and others were leaving the frontline of the battle against Boko Haram because the “idiots” they were fighting against had better weapons.
“If the army is ready, if Nigeria is ready to fight them, they should call us back to fight those idiots,” one of the five members of the troop said in the video.
“We don’t have enough weapon to fight them, so we can’t just be wasting our lives.”
“We are going home. Let us go and do the New Year with our family,” he added.
A former aide to former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, who posted the video, blamed the President Muhammadu Buhari government for ill-equipping the troops.
“WATCH and SHARE this video of how fleeing Nigerian soldiers complain about not being properly armed by the @MBuhari government leading to massive loss of lives amongst Nigerian soldiers,” Reno Omokri wrote on Twitter.
Although he did not say that the video was recorded in December in 2018, he, however, tacitly implied that.
Not an unusual video
The Guardian cannot verify the exact age of the video especially after it has been posted on social media.
It is difficult getting the real age of a video already shared on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram
Algorithms used by these social media platforms usually ‘break’ down any video posted on the platform and remove the initial meta tags encoded into the videos when they were being recorded.
The video in question is not unusual in itself.
Nigerian troops have a history of lashing out against the military hierarchy, whom they believe is corrupt and does not have their best interest at heart.
A similar video circulated on social media days after the Metele attack by Boko Haram where a soldier lamented the poor state of the ammunition they had. He complained about the tanks that were destroyed while pleading with the Federal Government to intervene.
“This is another T12 that was destroyed during the attack. Even the T12 tanks are very obsolete because they were procured during the regime of (Shehu) Shagari. These T12 war tanks were manufactured in 1983 in Slovakia.
“Despite all the money the federal government gave them they could not buy modern weapons, all they could do was to refurbish 1983 vehicles,” the soldier said.
66 soldiers were handed death sentences for mutiny and their refusal to fight Boko Haram in 2014 when Jonathan was still the president.
The 66 had been condemned to die by a military tribunal in two batches in September and December 2014, with their death sentences confirmed by a military council in January and March of 2015.
Their sentences were commuted to ten years imprisonment for each of them.