By Ismail Auwal
A week after the alleged shooting of #EndSARS protesters at Lekki tollgate, in Lagos, the Nigerian Army finally broke its silence, saying that soldiers were deployed at the request of the state government.
#EndSARS protesters were allegedly shot, on Wednesday by soldiers deployed to disperse the protesters, for defying a 24-hour curfew imposed by Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos, after widespread violence.
A statement issued by 81 Division of the Nigerian Army and signed by it’s Public Relations Officer, Major Osoba Olaniyi, said the Nigerian Army stayed away from the #EndSARS protests until the Lagos government invited them to restore order Olaniyi also deny shooting at protesters, describing the report of the shooting as fake.
“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, the 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.” The statement reads.
“From the onset of the ENDSARS protest, there was no time personnel of 81 Division Nigerian Army Lagos were involved.
“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.
“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,” he added.