The Nigerian Army says the decision to call in the military was taken by the Lagos State Government (LASG) after a 24- hour curfew was imposed” by the State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu last Week Tuesday night.
The incident, snowballed into the shooting and death of some unarmed protesters who converged on Lekky toll gate in Lagos State in defiance of the 24 hours curfew that was imposed by the State government few hours before the incident.
The Acting Director Army Public Relations, Major Osoba Olaniyi, in a statement issued on behalf of the 81 Division of the Nigerian Army on Tuesday October 27, 2020, debunked the report of military officers shooting of EndSARS protesters.
SARS is the acronym for Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a unit of the Nigeria Police that was recently disbanded by the government.
The statement said: “However, the decision to call in the military was taken by the Lagos State Government (LASG) after a 24- hour curfew was imposed”.
“This was as a result of the violence which led to several police stations being burnt, policemen killed, suspects in police custody released and weapons carted away.”
“The situation was fast degenerating into anarchy. It was at this point that LASG requested for the military to intervene in order to restore normalcy”.
“The intervention of the military followed all laid down procedures for Internal Security operations and all the soldiers involved acted within the confines of the Rules of Engagement (ROE) for Internal Security operations”.
The Acting Director Army Public Relations in the statement, however, confirmed the involvement of soldiers in restoring order in Lagos following the declaration of curfew by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
The statement reads: “The attention of Headquarters 81 Division Nigerian Army has been drawn to a viral video on social media in which it was alleged that Civilian protesters were massacred by soldiers at Lekki Toll Plaza. This allegation is untrue, unfounded and aimed at causing anarchy in the country.”
“At no time did soldiers of the Nigerian Army open fire on any Civilian. From the onset of the ENDSARS protest, there was no time personnel of 81 Division Nigerian Army Lagos were involved.
“Finally, Headquarters 81 Division Nigerian Army reiterates Nigerian Army in the discharge of its constitutional responsibilities did not shoot at any civilian as there are glaring and convincing evidence to attest to this fact.”
“This allegation is the hand work of mischief makers who will stop at nothing to tarnish the image of the Nigerian Army. The general public is hereby enjoined to discountenance this allegation as there is no iota of truth therein”.
Human Right Lawyer, Femi Falana and Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, had repeatedly accused the Nigerian military of shooting unarmed #End protesters while several others were wounded.
But, Nigerians had criticised president Muhammadu Buhari for not commenting on the incident during his recent nationwide Broadcast; Just as the Nigerian Army had equally denied involvement in the shooting despite the footage that showed armed men in military camouflage, shooting at unarmed protesters at Lekky toll gate.