Some social media users claim these are footballers from Zamfara holding rifles to a match
Fact Check: Were Footballers with AK-47 Rifles in a New Video, Players of Zamfara Football Club?
Claim: A video of some young men in Football Jersey all clutching to AK-47 rifles is currently circulating on WhatsApp, Facebook and social media platforms claiming that they were players of a football club in Zamfara going to play a match with guns….CONTINUE READING HERE
Full Text: The video which has now spread across multiple platforms was accompanied by the following text, “These are Players of a football club in Zamfara State going for a football match in a neighborhood town. Everybody is carrying an AK 47 rifle. Will they use the rifles as football whistles ??? Insecurity has taken complex dimensions in Nigeria with no probable solution from the Government. Things have totally gone sour.”
Many social media users including separatist, and religous figures among various other commentators have expressed dismay and condemned the ‘situation.’
A Facebook user, Degger Parker while reacting said, “Nigeria your country will never be a place to live” while another user Ogbonnia Egwu wrote, “These are Boko Haram Football Club. If na Igbo man now, na declaration of war. Igbophobia is so strong and real. Na any tribe of this world dey fear Igbo.”
Verification: On a closer look at the video, one of the individuals in the same yellow and green Jersey with the team, bearing number “87” walking behind the squad but immediately in front of the camera recording the motion, was spotted clutching to a material that seem like Nigerian Military Camouflage – known in local parlance as Khaki – in his left arm clutched to his chest while the AK-47 rifle dangled on his right shoulder. Just a step ahead by his right was another individual who happened not to be in Jersey himself but also had an AK-47 rifle dangling. A closer look revealed that he had dunned a Military “Khaki” trouser and a black shirt that had “Nigerian Army” boldly written on the back of the shirt.
When one of the rifles was zoomed closer, a numbering “ESDS 23” was detected. This number was put into an online search engine but there was no related result.
Our fact check desk then reached out to a military expert who explained that the numbering detected was in-line with microstamping and weapon serialising protocol of Militaries worldwide.
A deeper dive revealed that “weapon serialization” involves assigning a unique serial number or code to each firearm, including rifles issued to army officers. This serial number helps identify and track individual weapons for accountability, maintenance, inventory management, security, record keeping and security purposes.
While numbering rifles is a common practice, the specific procedures and policies can vary between different military organizations and countries.
When the video was broken into keyframes by fact checkers to run a reverse image search, the result only led to more videos on Tik Tok, Instagram and X with the same claim.
The Jersey was however zoomed for a closer look and another identification with semblance of military protocol and practice was detected. At the bottom of the shirt was written, “144……F.C.”. While the words in between were not clear enough for reading, it was clear enough that this may not be unconnected with a Nigerian Army unit.
Military formations are often designated by numbers as a part of a standardized naming and organizational system which likely indicate their place in the hierarchy of the Nigerian Army. The use of numbers is a standard practice in militaries worldwide and serves to provide a clear and systematic way to organize and refer to military formations.
Further Investigations by PRNigeria Fact Check Desk identified the individuals in the video as personnel of 144 BN.
The video was shot during an intercontingent football match between Nigerian troops and other contingents on peace keeping operations to commemorate a Special Day in the Gambia, a West-African country.
“In such exercises, troops cannot afford to leave their arms behind for obvious security,” a top military officer told PRNigeria.
The Nigerian Army has a football team also known as Green Beret Football Club.
While specific regulations and circumstances governing the carrying of rifles by military officers can vary widely depending on the country, branch of the military, and the officer’s role and assignment as a standard, Military officers worldwide are typically required to carry their rifles with them for several important reasons as follows:
Immediate Readiness: Military officers must be prepared for potential threats or emergencies at all times. Carrying their rifles ensures they can respond quickly to any security or combat situation that may arise.
Personal Defense: In hostile or unpredictable environments, officers may need their rifles to defend themselves or their unit. This is particularly important when operating in areas with a high risk of armed conflict.
Unit Cohesion: Officers often lead and set an example for their troops. By carrying their rifles, they demonstrate a commitment to the same standards and expectations they impose on their subordinates, fostering unit cohesion and discipline.
Training and Familiarity: Carrying rifles regularly helps officers maintain their proficiency and familiarity with the weapon. This ensures they are ready to use it effectively when needed.
Operational Requirements: In some military roles, officers may need their rifles for specific operational tasks, such as marksmanship training, security details, or specialized missions.
Deterrence: The visible presence of armed officers with rifles can act as a deterrent to potential threats and adversaries, helping to maintain security and order in various situations.
Emergency Response: Officers may be responsible for coordinating or leading emergency response efforts, and having their rifles readily available allows them to protect and secure critical assets or locations during crises.
Conclusion: Facts and Intel gathered by PRNigeria reveals that the individuals in the video were not football players or civilian from Zamfara carrying AK-47 rifle to a match but Nigerian soldiers on a peace keeping operation during a intercontingent football match in the Gambia.
PRNigeria therefore concludes that the claim that the video of young men in Jersey seen carrying rifles is that of players of a football club in Zamfara State going for a football match in a neighborhood town is FALSE….CONTINUE READING HERE