The Nigeria Army has given reasons why it will not disclose the identities and the number of personnel that was deployed to Lekki Tollgate on Tuesday, October 20, 2020. The Army said its unprofessional and against the operational security of the organization to disclose their identities.
This disclosure was made by the acting Deputy Director, Army Public Relations and 81 Division’s spokesperson, Major Osoba Olaniyi, during an interview with Punch newspaper.
When asked the number of personnel involved, Olaniyi said, “It is against operational security. We don’t give that. It is against the policy of operational security. There is no problem here. The picture some people paint, as if we are fighting with the state government, is wrong.”
He also explained that it was not the duty of the judicial panel to invite the Army to answer questions regarding the reported shooting of unarmed protesters at the Lekki toll plaza.
Olaniyi pointed out that the army intervened in the Lekki tollgate incident based on a request from the Lagos State Government and that it would only appear before the panel based on same directive from the state government.
He said, “If we receive a letter from the state, we will go. Are we not under civil authorities? Are we not part of Nigerians? Have you forgotten that we did not go there (Lekki tollgate) on our own?
“It is not the duty of the members of the panel to tell us that. If the state wants the (81) Division to come, they will write and we will oblige. See, if they have written to the division, it is our duty to go. It is not for them to go through the media as if we are scared of coming.
“It is the state government that constituted that panel of inquiry. So, if anybody needs to get in touch with us to come, it is still the state and not members of the panel.”
What you should know
Nairametrics had earlier reported the shooting of unarmed protesters at the Lekki Tollgate on Tuesday, October 20, 2020, by the Nigerian Army. Although the army initially denied involvement in the Lekki shootings, it later disclosed that its officers were at the Lekki Tollgate on the invitation of the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to enforce a curfew imposed on the state last Tuesday.
There have been different accounts of the fatality figures for the incident, Amnesty International claimed that 10 persons allegedly died. An eyewitness, DJ Switch, said about 15 protesters died. While the Ogun state governor, Mr. Dapo Abiodun claimed not more than 2 persons died.
However, the Lagos state government is yet to release any official figures of casualties.