Catholic Researcher in Nigeria Reacts to Video of Soldiers Aiding Transit of Bandits

Screengrab from video showing soldiers in Nigeria interacting freely with suspected bandits Credit: The Truth Nigeria

A viral video of soldiers suspected to be aiding a smooth transit of bandits in a Nigerian State has attracted criticism, with a Catholic researcher in the West African country expressing doubt that authorities will bring the alleged soldiers to book.

In the 51-second video said to have been taken  between September 9-11, soldiers with rifles are seen strolling among armed civilians, most of them on motorbikes. The armed men are suspected to be bandits.

A man is overheard speaking in Hausa in the video suspected to have been taken in Katsina-Ala in Nigeria’s Benue State, one of the regions that is ravaged by armed Fulani herdsmen the most.

The man on the phone seems to be reminding the one on the other end to allow the armed bandits to move unhindered when they arrive at his end. Their conversation, in part, has been translated as follows, “I want you for the sake of Allah (God)!...Come to the major road and inform the public that for the sake of Allah, Fulani are en-route to that way.”

The man in military gear continues, “Nobody has any business with them… They have been spoken to just now. So, they are just going to pass through. Do you understand?”


The Nigeria Defence Headquarters has issued a statement saying it is investigating the video. But the board chair at the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) does not foresee any action from the authorities.

“The Defence Headquarters will, at best, edit the video to distance themselves from it as much as possible. They will then come back with a twisted narrative to cover up the evidence that clearly shows soldiers working with the bandits,” Emeka Umeagbalasi, a member of the Catholic Diocese of Onitsha, has told ACI Africa.

He added, in the Friday, September 22 interview, “The video doesn't clearly show the service numbers of those soldiers. Authorities will claim that they are in fact not soldiers. This is how they always twist the evidence.”

Intersociety has released numerous reports detailing how the Nigerian authorities are aiding banditry and terrorism in Africa’s most populous country. In one of their reports in May, the researchers highlighted ways in which the Nigerian government is overspending to aid terrorism in the country. 

In June, the researchers published a report directly linking key government officials in Nigeria to killings of Christians in the country.

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Intersociety is also behind the April 10 report that revealed the killing of over 50,000 Christians since the 2009 Islamic uprising in the West African country.

In the September 22 interview with ACI Africa, Mr. Umeagbalasi said that the viral September video is just one in “piles of available evidence” that shows Nigerian authorities working in cahoots with bandits who are wreaking havoc against innocent civilians in the country.

“We know that the government is solidly behind the activities of Fulani herdsmen whose agenda is to drive the indigenous Hausa people from their homes in Katsina-Ala, as they are doing in many other parts of southeastern Nigeria,” he said.

“Their silence itself is telling. Have they spoken anything about the recent kidnapping of over 30 people including a Catholic Priest in Enugu State? Enugu has the highest concentration of military operations in the southeast yet they have said nothing,” he said in reference to the September 16-17 kidnapping.

The Catholic researcher who has a background in criminology, security studies as well as conflict resolution criticized the Nigerian authorities for “choosing to look away whenever the Fulani herdsmen are mentioned.”


Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.