By Evelyn Usman
After one week of silence from the Nigerian Army on the alleged shooting of #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki toll gate, Lagos, it has declared the allegation as unfounded, describing it as the handiwork of mischief makers.
Recall that the protest took a violent twist after the alleged Lekki massacre, as hoodlums hijacked the opportunity to attack police formations, killing six policemen and destroyed over 40 police formations, including government and civilians properties.
However , the 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, Victoria Island, Lagos where the soldiers were deployed from, exonerated its men from killing any protester.
In a statement signed the Acting Deputy Director, 81 Division Army Public Relations , Major Osoba Olaniyi, the division, clarified that the intervention of the soldiers was on the request of the Lagos State Government.
The statement read: “The attention of headquarters 81 Division of the 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 the 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 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 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 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”.