The Nigerian Army on Sunday insisted that its personnel deployed to the Lekki Toll Gate area during the #EndSARS protest in Lagos only used blank bullet and also shot into the air and not directly at protesters.
The force said its personnel fired the blank bullets into the sky to disperse the crowd and not at the protesters adding that, “The results are all glaring as there was no fatality recorded. This has been corroborated by BBC reports and other reputable news media outfit”.
The Army further emphasized that carrying both blank and live ammunition is part of the table of Equipment for internal Security Operation as well as part of the rules of engagement for soldiers during such IS operations.
It advised Nigerians and stakeholders to beware of the antics of agents of both local and foreign destabilization who are bent on using the EndSARS plant seeds of discord in the nation.
The Army made the clarifications in a statement signed by Spokesman for the 81 Division of the force Major Osoba Olaniyi, titled, “Re-Cross Examination of Brig General Ahmed Taiwo on Blank and Live Ammunition by Troops of 81 division, Nigerian Army”.
It reads, “The attention of the headquarters 81 division, Nigerian Army has been drawn to news items on both the social and mainstream media insinuating the troops of the Nigerian Army contradicted its evidence of firing blank ammunition when it also carried live ammunition for internal Security on the 20th October 2020.
“We hereby state unequivocally that carrying both blank and live ammunition is part of our table of Equipment for internal Security operations.
“It is part of the rules of engagement for soldiers on internal Security operations to carry both blank and live ammunition .
“The use of any of these ammunition as stated in our rules of engagement depends on the level of threat at the operational area.
“Please note that one of the principles of internal Security operations is the use of minimum Force. Minimum Force itself is a function of the assessment of the Commander on ground.
“In this circumstances, ie; the Lekki Toll Gate, the Commander on ground assessed that there was no need to use live ammunition. That was why only blank ammunition was used at the Lekki Toll Gate.
“The blank ammunition was fired into the sky and not at the protesters.
“The results are all glaring as there was no fatality recorded. This has been corroborated by BBC reports and other reputable news media outfit.
“The use of blank ammunition/minimum Force achieved the aim of dispersing the hoodlums and crowd.
“It is pertinent to reiterate that the Nigerian Army is a law abiding institution that actis in tandem with her rules of engagement.
“We therefore wish to advice all stakeholders to guide against being used by local and foreign agents of destabilization who do not wish this country any good.