#EndSARS: Lagos State and the Nigerian Army Play Blame Game

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Yesterday makes it exactly a week and a day unarmed peaceful #EndSARS protesters at Lekki tollgate were shot by the Nigerian Army. Despite video footage, the Army had earlier stated that its men were not present at the toll gate during the incident on Tuesday, October 20, and the viral videos of the shooting were photoshopped.

In an interview with CNN journalist, Becky Anderson, on Monday night, the governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu revealed that the Nigerian Army ordered the shooting of End SARS protesters at Lekki Toll Gate.

From the footage that we could see, it seems to be that men in military uniforms, which should be the Nigerians Army ordered the shooting.

They will be available for the judicial panel to review. They will certainly be held accountable, we will do everything possible to make sure they are held accountable.

When the report is out we will channel it to all the relevant authorities in the state to ensure that everyone found culpable is accountable for the act.

Nevertheless, the 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, Victoria Island, Lagos, where the soldiers were deployed from, declared that its personnel never opened fire on the protesters.

In a statement by the Acting Deputy Director, 81 Division Army Public Relations, Major Osoba Olaniyi, the Division explained that the intervention of the soldiers was on the request of the Lagos State Government. The statement reads:

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 the Military to intervene, 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 is 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 unanswered question remains, who ordered the shootings at Lekki toll gate?