By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai on Monday 30th November 2020 expressed the hope that all the people who falsely accused the Army regarding the EndSARS protests and shooting at Lekki Tollgate, should be honourable enough to swallow their pride and apologise after the Lagos Panel investigating the Incident submits it’s findings.
Gen Buratai made the declaration just as the 5-man legal team of the Nigerian Army at the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution for Victims of SARS and Related Abuses on Monday disclosed that “there was no petition whatsoever against the Nigerian Army or any of it’s personnel with regards to the EndSARS Lekki shootings”.
Leader of the legal team, Mr. Akinolu Kehinde, SAN had led other members including Ogbeni Biola Oyebanji, Col Michael Elom (RTD) and Major Ehicheoya (RTD) to Army headquarters to submit 5 copies and 2 flash drives of the report of proceedings at the Lagos State Judicial Panel on Lekki Shootings to the COAS
Speaking on behalf of the COAS, the Chief of Policy and Plans, Lt. Gen Lamidi Adeosun noted that some people engaged in all types of manipulations and false accusations in the social media to try to rubbish the Army over the EndSARS protest saying we are not shy of criticism but let it be constructive criticism.
His words, “We are also looking forward and hope that all the people who have accused the army so badly, will find the honour and grace in themselves, without pre-empting the Lagos State commission of inquiry; if it turns out that all the stories were made up to discredit the Army. We are looking up to a situation whereby most of those people will be honorable to swallow their pride and apologize to the Army and the country at large, for attempting to destroy their own Army and country, using false allegation and false accusation through the manipulation of social media.
“One thing that made all of us happy is that well meaning Nigerians believe that we have a law abiding Nigerian Army who believe in the rules and regulations as provided by the Constitution for the Nigerian Army”.
“One of them is to come to the aid of civil authority. And as a professional Army, we will not shy away from performing this task when called to do so”
Earlier, Mr. Kehinde SAN, disclosed that the conduct of the Army in observing rules of engagement, “Goes to show that the Nigerian Army is a very disciplined organization and operates by rules of engagement.
Emphasizing that Nigerian Army did not on its own set out to intervene at the Lekki Tollgate, Mr. Kehinde said, “There are constitutional processes to follow to call on the Army if the Police is overwhelmed which was followed.
He reiterated that the panel is a fact finding panel which does not have the capacity to order punishment, noting that the Army only appeared before the panel to help it in its fact finding assignment.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria reiterated that the Army did not own its own volition set out for intervention at Lekki toll-gate on October, but its troops were rather called upon to arrest the deteriorating situation.