© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Adesina again goofs on fact, militaries around the world do disclose casualty figures
THE claims by presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, that the militaries of nations across the world do not, or rarely disclose the number of their dead personnel, is not accurate.
Adesina made this remark while appearing on Channel Television’s programme, ‘Sunday Politics’, on Sunday. He was commenting on the recent attack by Boko Haram on military formations in the North East, which led to the killing of a yet-to-be-ascertained number of soldiers.
Some reports put the number of casualty at over one hundred soldiers, but there was no official statement from the Nigerian Army Authorities for more than five days after the attack occurred. It was only when the reports started making the rounds that the Nigerian Army Headquarters issued a press release acknowledging the attack, but warning the media against quoting any number of casualty which was not verified.
In his attempts to defend the army and justify its silence after the attacks, Adesina said it was standard practice all over the world that the number of soldiers that died in active combat is not disclosed.
“There’s a standard procedure when things like that happen,” Adesina said during the programme.
“You don’t go out to talk immediately. They said you have to reach the NOK (the next of kin), you need to first get them to be aware of what happened to their people before you then speak officially.
“There’s a standard procedure for the military to do this, and you’ll agree with me that all over the world, the military does not, or rarely disclose the figure of its casualty. It’s not only in Nigeria.”
The above claim is not very true, as developed countries, including the United States of America, The United Kingdom, and France, have records of the figures of their military personnel who die in the line of duty.
Links to the web pages where the three countries mentioned above provides updated information of their fallen soldiers were provided by Anna Cunningham, who describes herself as an ex BBC journalist, but now freelances for the CBC News and France 24. She provided the links as a way of countering Adesina’s claims about non-disclosure of military fatalities across the globe.
Checks by the ICIR on the weblinks provided shows that the list of fallen soldiers are updated every year and published on the countries’ official websites.
The statistics for the casualties published by the US military included figures of its personnel killed in the many battles and wars it hs engaged in over the centuries, dating back to the Mexican War of 1846. It also includes the number of personnel that died in the various foreign missions the US military has ever engaged in.
The deceased are categorised under the following subheadings: Killed in action, died of wounds, missing in action – declared dead, captured – declared dead, missing – presumed dead, and other deaths. The page was last updated in September this year.
The information provided on the publication is structured in such a way to provide accountability to the British public, but at the same time, not to compromise the operational security of the country’s Armed Forces. The information also does not reveal individual identities in order not to breach the rights of the families of the deceased personnel.
Overall, “in 2017, there were 63 deaths in the UK Regular Armed Forces. Of these, 12 deaths were in the Naval Service, 40 in the Army and 11 in the RAF (Royal Air Force)”
Also, France’s Memoire des Hommes (Men’s memory) is a special website dedicated to French soldiers who died while in active service. There is even a search portal on the website that enables users to input names of a fallen soldier to access more information.
Channels TV makes U-turn as Adesina trends on the social media
Femi Adesina trended on Twitter for several hours on Tuesday as many accused Channels Television of editing the interview and removing the part where he made the claim that the military all over the world does not disclose casualty figure.
The ICIR had reviewed Adesina’s interview on Monday, but the clip reviewed did not include where the presidential spokesman made the statement. However, the television station made a U-turn, perhaps as a result of the public backlash, by tweeting the link to the 30-second video of Adesina making the claim.