The Nigerian Army 81 Division has finally admitted involvement in the opertaion that broke the #ENDSARS protest, claiming the soldiers came on the request of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu who had declared a 24-hour curfew on Tuesday, October 20.
The army, however, maintained silent on their alleged involvement and shooting at the Lekki tollgate which further aggravated youths’ anger, leading to massive destruction of properties and looting in Lagos.
A statement signed on behalf of the formation by the acting deputy director, 81 Division Army Public Relations, Osoba Olaniyi, a major, claimed its personnel followed the rules of engagaments following the invitation by Governor Sanwo-Olu.
Recall that Sanwo-Olu had in the hit of the crisis following the shooting at the Lekki tollgate, denied inviting the army into it, claming, howeever, that forces beyond the state’s control brought in the soldiers, as the Nigerian Army does not take directive from any state governor.
But according to Olaniyi, the 81 Division spokesman, after the protest turned violence the governor declared a curfew and invited the army to restore normalcy.
The statement said further that the army in the disharge of its duty did not shoot at any civilians. It described the allegations of shootings as the handwork of mischief makers.
The statement Ref. Numbers are 81 Div/APR/G6/230/5 dated October 27, 2020 is below:
27 October 2020.
The attention of Headquarters 81 Division 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 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 hours 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 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 hand work of mischief makers who will not 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.
Acting Deputy Director
81 Division Army Public Relations