Nigerian Army has said that it was invited to enforce the curfew in Lagos State by the state government. The army also said it did not shoot at protesters in Lekki, Lagos.
The army stated this, on Tuesday, in a statement by its 81 Division in Lagos State. The statement was signed by its spokesperson, Osoba Olaniyi.
URHOBO DAILY reported how protests in various parts of the country turned violent last week after the army shot at peaceful protesters at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos.
Hoodlums have since taken advantage of the situation to attack private and public properties.
Some of the properties destroyed by the hoodlums were buses and a bus station, media houses and police stations.
Asides Lagos State, properties were also looted and destroyed in Ondo, Jos, Kano, Plateau, Abuja and other parts if the country.
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
Mr Adeniyi while explaining the role played by the army at the Lekki toll gate insisted that they acted within the confines of the Rules of Engagement for Internal Security operations.
He also maintained that soldiers did not shoot at the #EndSARS protesters in Lagos State.
In the statement titled “Press release on alleged massacre of protesters at Lekki toll gate,” Mr Olaniyi described the allegations of soldiers shooting at protesters as untrue, adding that no soldier fired a shot at the protesters.
“The attention of Headquarters 81 Division Nigerian Army has been drawn to a viral video on Facebook and other social media in which it was alleged that civilians 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.”
“However, the decision to call in the military was taken by the Lagos State Government after a 24 hours 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 for Internal Security operations,” the statement read.
Mr Olaniyi added that there were “glaring and convincing evidence to attest that no protester was shot by the soldiers.”
At least two people have died from the Lekki shooting and many others treated for gunshot wounds.
Witnesses have said the casualty was much higher.
The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, had earlier admitted that soldiers shot at the protesters.
Mr Sanwo-Olu stated this in an interview with CNN on Monday.
The Lagos State Governor also said he did not invite soldiers or ask them to shoot at at protesters.
The Governor also said the CCTV footage of the incident would be available to the state judicial panel probing brutality of security operatives.
“We will be committed to a full investigation of what happened and people would be held accountable. They certainly would be held accountable. We would do everything possible to ensure that they are held accountable,” he said.
“People have claimed that their friends and family members have been killed. So, this Judicial Panel of Enquiry is meant to bring all of these stories to accountability; where we can make restitutions, where families can prove and identify officers that were responsible for this.
“I am not the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces; I am Governor of a State. The report would be out and we would channel the report to all the relevant authorities in the state to ensure that every one that is found culpable is accountable for the act,” he said.
The Lekki shooting has been condemned by Nigerians and the international community who have called for investigation and demanded that culprits be punished.