By Okunade Adekunle
The Nigerian Army has denied that soldiers shot at #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Toll Plaza on last Tuesday.
The Army made this known in a statement tittled ‘ Alleged Massacre Of Protesters At Lekki Toll Plaza’ issued by the Acting Director Army Public Relations, Major Osoba Olaniyi, on Tuesday.
“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 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 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,” the Army said in the statement.
Recall that there was an allegation of shooting of the #EndSARS protesters by soldiers believed to have been deployed by the Nigerian Army to the Lekki Toll Plaza where there had been protest against police brutality and the Special Anti-Robbery Squads(SARS).
The aftermath of the alleged shooting by the soldiers led to massive destruction of public utilities and private investments in Lagos state by suspected hoodlums who hijacked the #EndSARS protest.