After series of denials, the Nigerian Army has finally admitted its soldiers were involved in the assault on protesters at the Lekki Toll Plaza, Lekki. Lagos State on the 20th of October 2020.
In what seems to be a blame game, the Army says it did not act of its own volition, but got involved at the invitation of the Lagos State Government, after a 24-hour curfew was imposed by the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
A statement signed by the Acting Deputy Director of the 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major Osoba Olaniyi says the military’s involvement was as a result of the statewide violence and mayhem which led to several public and private properties being looted and destroyed, police stations being burnt , policemen killed and suspects in police custody released with weapons carted away.
The statement further states that it was at this point that the “Lagos State Government requested for the military to intervene in order to restore normalcy” and that the military followed all laid down procedures for internal security operations”
The division, however, insists that at no time did soldiers open fire on any civilian and says the viral video on social media alleging that civilians were killed by the military is untrue and aimed at causing anarchy in the country.
This is coming barely a week after the Defence Headquarters, denied that its personnel were at the scene of the incident. Spokesperson Major-General John Enenche in the media briefing last week Tuesday after a security meeting with the president in Abuja, went further to say that the videos showing soldiers could have been doctored.
But speaking to CNN on Tuesday, the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu admitted that the shooting of protesters was carried out by soldiers based on the footage from the incident. The Governor, however, disputed eyewitness accounts that dead bodies were taken away by the uniformed men, saying no one is yet to make any claim that a relative who was at the scene of the shooting on the 20th of October is missing