The Defence Headquarters has warned Nigerians to stop making disparaging remarks against the military following the report by the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on the shooting incident that occurred last year during the #EndSARS protest at the Lekki Toll Gate.
KanyiDaily had reported how soldiers opened fire on #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki toll gate, on Tuesday night, October 21, 2020, killing an unconfirmed number of persons and injuring so many others.
According to the 309-page report submitted by the Lagos Judicial Panel on Monday, November 15, 2021, nine protesters were confirmed dead while four others were presumed dead.
The report listed 48 names as those who were casualties of the Lekki shooting incident. Among which, 24 sustained gunshot injuries, while 15 others were assaulted by soldiers and police.
The panel which was headed by Justice Doris Okuwobi, also noted that 96 other corpses were presented by a Forensic Pathologist of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Professor John Obafunwa.
The report indicted the Nigerian Army for killing “unarmed helpless and defenseless protesters, without provocation or justification, while they were waving the Nigerian Flag and singing the National Anthem” at the Lekki Toll Gate.
Nigerian Army Reacts To Lagos EndSARS Report
Reacting to the report when he paid a courtesy visit to the Edo State Governor in Benin-City, the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor faulted the attack on the Nigerian Army.
Gen Irabor, who frowned at the manner in which the report was released, insisted that the Nigerian Army are professionals who are guided by rules of engagement and do not engage in ignoble acts.
He said: “I am sure those of you in the media must have seen a report that was released through, in my view, a wrong channel, that is making the rounds in the social media.
“Whether it is a true report, I can’t tell. But I’d like to indicate that the normal procedure is to have such a report submitted to the convening authority. And then there will be a white paper that will be presented, based on which one can make informed comments.
“But whatever it is currently, I’d like to indicate that the Armed Forces of Nigeria is a professional armed force. We are peopled by Nigerians and we remain committed to the constitutional mandate.
“So we will not at this point think that Nigerians should make disparaging remarks regarding the Armed Forces of Nigeria, in the sense that we are a professional armed forces. If there are issues, of course, we address them within the ambit of the provisions.
“It would not be right to disparage men and women who have worked so hard to ensure that the territorial integrity of this nation is kept intact. So in the meantime, until I see the full extent of the report.
“I can assure that the Armed Forces of Nigeria are well-disciplined and we do not engage in any ignoble acts. If Nigerians do not trust us, then we won’t be doing what we are doing, and in any case, it is the Armed Forces of Nigeria; we are not talking of the police. So when the Armed Forces are called out, it is because there is a need; there is no one who doesn’t desire to live in peace.
“We need to understand that the Armed Forces are there to keep the peace, to provide the ambiance that will enable each Nigerian to live his or her desires in peace and harmony. So let us not make inciting comments that will put the entire space on fire. That’s not right.”
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Meanwhile, the US Government has asked President Buhari and Governor Sanwo-Olu to address those alleged abuses that led to the #EndSARS protests as well as the grievances of the victims and their families.