Controversy has trailed the shooting of the unarmed #ENDSARS protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020. The Nigerian Armed Forces had earlier denied that they were not responsibe for the shooting but in a twist of event yesterday, it came out in a press briefing that the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu invited it to enforce the curfew imposed same day.
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Although no one claimed resposibility for the shooting, the 81 Division of the Nigerian Army has just clarified matters through Major Osona Olaniyi, spokesman of the Division said the soldiers came out to enforce the curfew.
But Olaniyi denied reports that soldiers shot at unarmed civilians, the #EndSARS protesters who assembled at the Lekki Toll Plaza.
He also denied that the army committed any massacre.
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“The attention of headquarters of 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.
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“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.”
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“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 and
“Finally the Headquarters of 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 handiwork 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.”
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Sanwo-Olu in earlier statements had claimed he did not invite the soldiers and does not even understand their command structure, to be able to do so.
#EndSARS protesters posted video images, showing soldiers shooting at the Toll Gate Plaza.
DJ Switch who was there claimed that she counted 15 bodies, carried away by the soldiers.
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The Lagos Government has set a judicial panel to get to the root of what happened at the Plaza on 20 October, along with probing cases of past police brutality.
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