Contrary to the denial of the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu that he was responsible for calling in the military to disperse the #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Tollgate, the Nigerian Army has come out to defend its reputation, saying the Lagos State government, actually, did call on them to help enforce the 24-hour curfew imposed on the state after the fallout of the #EndSARS protest.
This confirmation by the 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, contradicts Governor Sanwo-Olu’s claims that knew nothing about the involvement of the military at the Ground Zero of the protest- the Lekki Tollgate along Lekki/Epe Expressway, Lagos.
The statement signed by the 81 Division’s Public Relations Officer, Major Osoba Olaniyi, however, denied there was any massacre during the operation.
Titled ‘Alleged Massacre of Protesters at Lekki Toll Plaza’, the statement reads, “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 handiwork 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.”