Late last night, American media outfit, Politico posted a video where the president of the United States of America, Donald Trump said he would advise the U.S. military to forcefully engage with anyone throwing stones and rocks at them as armed.
In the video, Trump said, “I will tell you this, anybody throwing stones, rocks, like they did to Mexico and the Mexican military where they badly hurt police and soldiers of Mexico, we will consider that a firearm, because there’s not much difference when you get hit in the face with a rock, which as you know it was very violent a few days ago. Because they’re throwing rocks viciously and violently. You saw that three days ago. Really hurting the military. We are not going to put up with that. They want to throw rocks, at our military, our military fights back. We are going to consider and I told them to consider it a rifle. When they throw rocks like they did at the Mexico military and police, I say consider it a rifle.”
— POLITICO (@politico) November 1, 2018
Trump’s statement will shock no one as he has a track record of courting controversies with his words and actions, but what is, however, disheartening is that the Nigerian Army on Friday posted the video of the U.S. President, with the caption “please watch and make your deductions.”
Please Watch and Make your Deductions. pic.twitter.com/05yVwULFoh
— Nigerian Army (@HQNigerianArmy) November 2, 2018
The Army’s tweet comes barely a week after some soldiers reportedly escorting a set of ammunition from Zuba, a suburb in the Federal Capital Territory to Kaduna were accosted by members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) popularly known as the Shi’ites who were embarking on a procession. During the altercation, the Shi’ite members reportedly pelted the soldiers with stones. In a video posted online, the soldiers disembarked from their vehicles and shot at the protesters killing three of them in the process while two soldiers were injured.
A few days later, the sect during a procession in Mararaba, a border town to the nation’s Federal Capital were engaged by the Army with an unspecified number of Shi’ites killed during the clash.
It is rather sad that the Nigerian Army believes shooting live bullets at protesters armed with stones is the best way to quell any unrest. It is also worrisome that the Army hierarchy thinks that Donald Trump is the perfect model to use in justifying their action. Trump, who has time and again proven to be a divisive and vindictive individual.
What is most worrisome is that someone in the Army actually approved that the video should be posted online. The caption used may have been with the intent of absolving themselves of any blame on the one hand but on the other hand, the Army in a literal manner may be alluding that they did the right thing based on Trump’s seeming “endorsement and approval” of maximum force.