5 things the Army wants you to know about its role in Lekki shooting
The army has explained its role in the #EndSARS protests. So, here goes…
The Nigerian Army has just admitted that it was invited to quell the chaos and violence in Lagos by State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, after a curfew was imposed smack in the middle of the #EndSARS protests.
The army has however said it did not shoot at any civilian at the Lekki toll gate on Tuesday, October 20, 2020.
Here are 4 other things the army wants you to know about its role in the #EndSARS protests.
1..The army says it is not interested in any coup
There were fears of a regime change while the protests lasted and anarchy engulfed the land–something reminiscent of the military coups of the 80s and 90s.
The army has however stated for the umpteenth time that it is committed to safeguarding Nigeria’s current democratic dispensation which has lasted 20 years.
“The best system of governance is democracy and we must all ensure that Nigeria’s democracy remains stable and steady.
“We will not allow any force, elements or destabilising agents in or outside our country to set our beloved country on fire.
“We remain resolute in doing everything possible to ensure that subversive elements, detractors and other enemies of this great nation do not achieve their aims and objectives of destabilisation,” Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, told his Principal Staff Officers (PSOs), General Officers Commanding(GOCs) and Field Commanders at the Army Headquarters Conference Room in Abuja on Monday, October 26.
2..The army says there was a plot by sponsors of the #EndSARS protests to rope the institution into their grand plot
Colonel Sagir Musa who is the Acting Director, Army Public Relations, says “the plan was to embark on massive propaganda to discredit the military and the government so as to set the people against the NA once it is called out to aid the civil authorities.
“The NA being aware of the devilish plan was careful not to be dragged in and issued the initial warning through a press release on 14 October 2020 of our resolve to secure and safeguard a United Nigeria.”
The army has insisted that fifth columnists who sponsored the protests are intent on destabilising Nigeria and implicating the army while at it; and that it wouldn’t let that happen.
3..There was nothing like a massacre in Lekki, the army insists, and if there was one, the army wasn’t involved in it
Major Osoba Olaniyi, who is the Acting Deputy Director, 81 Division of the Army Public Relations, says reports that soldiers killed unarmed, peaceful protesters at the Lekki toll on the night of October 20, are a tissue of lies.
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,” Olaniyi said in a statement.
4..It was the Lagos State government that invited the army over to help
The army says it was minding its business of defending the nation’s territorial integrity and fighting Boko Haram when the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, sent an SOS their way.
“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…” Olaniyi adds in his statement.
5..The army is aware that you have been reporting them to the international criminal court
The Nigerian army doesn’t like the fact that some of you have been reporting them to the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague for human rights violations, since the Lekki shooting.
Army Chief Buratai told his men “that none of the PSOs, GOCs, Field Commanders and other officers and soldiers of the NA should be afraid of the ICC for carrying out their legitimate duties as stated in the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and other extant laws, rules and regulations of Nigeria,”
Because “they fully abided by the internationally recognized Rules of Engagement as contained in our published Standard Operating Procedures for Internal Security Operations which are derived from the International Human Rights Laws and are in accordance with the international principles guiding the use of force.”
There you have it.