Lagos, Nigeria -The Nigerian army said the Lagos state government invited its men to station at Lekki Toll Gate during the #EndSARS protests, confirming Report Afrique’s tweet made on the 20th of October on the issue. The army, however, denied shooting protesters at the toll gate.
Report Afrique tweeted that the army had been stationed at the toll gate and opened fire on peaceful protesters, a position that was confirmed by multiple eyewitnesses and open source videos uploaded by some victims.
In a statement by the Acting Deputy Director, 81 Division Army Public Relations, Major Osoba Olaniyi, the Division explained that the intervention of the soldiers was on the request of the Lagos State Government.
The army also described the allegation of killing of protesters by soldiers as unfounded, attributing it to the handiwork of mischief-makers.
The statement read:
“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 was involved.
“However, the decision to call in the Military was taken by the Lagos State Government 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 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, 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 handwork 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.”
Lagos state governor, Babjide Sanwo-Olu,on an interview with CNN’s Becky Anderson, said that only two persons have been confirmed dead from the incidence.