Lekki shooting: Army statement expands confusion
By Our Correspondent
The statement by the Nigerian Army confirming on Tuesday night that the Lagos State government invited soldiers to enforce the curfew imposed on the state last week is raising even more confusion in the public, The Difference checks have revealed.
This is because it seemingly contradicts the position of Lagos Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu on the incident. It also stands in conflict with earlier attempts by the military to affirm that it was not directly involved in the incident.
The Acting Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 81 Division, Maj. Osoba Olaniyi, who disclosed the army’s latest position in a statement, also dismissed reports that soldiers shot #EndSARS protesters in the state.
The Lagos State governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, had last week imposed a 24-hour curfew on the state following the unsavoury incidents that had begun to trail the #EndSARS campaign across the state.
Though the same state government extended the take off of the curfew time from 4pm to 9pm. However, before the new time, armed soldiers arrived at the Lekki toll gate and reportedly opened fire on the peaceful protesters.
However, the actual number of victims has not been ascertained with many claiming that more than 20 protesters were killed in the attack.
But the army has continued to deny that its troops shot at the protesters.
The spokesman insisted that the soldiers were invited by the state government, saying the personnel acted within “the confines of the rules of engagement for internal security operations.”
He 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 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 Lagos State government requested 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.”