The Nigerian Army (NA) has denied allegation soldiers opened fire on #ENDSARS protesters at the Lekki Toll Plaza last Tuesday.
Nigerian Army however, confirmed that its operatives were invited by the Lagos State government to restore order in the state following the declaration of curfew by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
This was disclosed in a statement by the Acting Director Army Public Relations (ADPR), Major Osoba Olaniyi.
It said: “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.
“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.”
The Lagos State government has said there is nothing wrong in inviting the military to quell riots if it sees the need for such.
Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the governor, Gboyega Akosile, said this on Tuesday night Speaking to the Nigerian Tribune in a telephone interview.
Akosile said this in reaction to claims made by the Nigerian Army that the decision to deploy its men to Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, where peaceful #EndSARS protesters were gathered, was based on the request of the Lagos State government.
But against claims and counterclaims that some protesters were gunned down, the military maintained that it did not shoot at anybody and, therefore, nobody died.
According to Akosile, there is nothing wrong to call the military to intervene in the face of lawlessness and anarchy, saying the statement from the military command made it even clear that its men did not shoot at anybody and what they did followed strictly the rule of engagement.
He said: “The angle should actually be that the military has come out to deny that they shot at anybody. There has been the accusation saying that they shot, they killed.
“If you read that statement very well, the Army is saying that they did not shoot at civilians and that what they did followed strictly the rule of engagement.
“And then, if you read the statement very well, the angle of Lagos State government, you understand. There is nothing wrong to say, lawlessness, anarchy has come and the military should be called to intervene. There is nothing wrong there, there is nothing wrong there.”