The 81 Division of the Nigerian Army has finally confirmed the involvement of soldiers in restoring order in Lagos State following the declaration of curfew by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu as a result of violence that trailed the #EndSARS protest in the State.
The Army, however, denied allegation that soldiers opened fire on #ENDSARS protesters at the Lekki Toll Plaza last Tuesday.
This was contained in a statement by the Acting Director of Army Public Relations (ADPR), Major Osoba Olaniyi.
It is the first time the division is speaking about the incident which had already incurred local and international condemnation.
According to the statement, “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 Lagos State Government (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 hand work 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.”