The army on Tuesday revealed that Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu invited soldiers from 81 Division of the Nigerian Army to quell the #Endsars protest.
In a press release signed by Major by Major Olaniyi Osoba, Acting Public Relations Officer of 81 Division, the army refuted allegations of shooting the protesters, saying that soldiers drafted for the assignment followed the rules of engagement in internal security operations.
Major Osoba explained that its troops were invited to enforce the curfew imposed on the state by the Lagos State Government.
It said the troops were requested to restore law and order 24 hours after the curfew was declared.
The army, however, insisted that the soldiers did not shoot at the #EndSARS protesters, adding that the personnel acted within “the confines of the Rules of Engagement for Internal Security operations.”
The army had been under fire for shooting some #EndSARS protesters and taking their dead bodies away.
But Olaniyi described the allegations as untrue, stressing that at no time did the soldiers fired at the protesters.
He stated, “The attention of Headquarters 81 Division Nigerian Army has been drawn to a viral video on social media in which it was alleged that civilians protesters were massacred by soldiers at Lekki toll plaza.
Major Osoba stated: “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”.
This was however inconsistent with the events of the day, October 20, 2020. Prior to the army intervention, the #endears protests had been peaceful across the country. All Nigerians attested to the orderly conduct of the protesters, particularly in Lagos. It was a day after the shooting of the protesters that hoodlums went on rampage, burning and looting in anger.
Find below the full text of the press release:
27 October 2020
PRESS RELEASE ALLEGED MASSACRE OF PROTESTER AT LEKKI TOLL PLAZA
The attention of Headquarters 81 Division Nigerian Army has been drawn to a viral video on 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 (LASG) 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 (ROE) for Internal Security operations.
Finally, Headquarters 81 Division Nigerian Army reiterates that the 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 not 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.
Acting Deputy Director
81 Division Army Public Relations