On Wednesday 28th of October, 2020, one was taken aback and furious on listening to the news at 10.00am by a national radio station which reported that the Nigeria military has finally capitulated and admitted that she was invited by the Lagos State government in response to the #EndSARS protests mayhem contrary to it’s earlier denial.
Having been privy to the press release issued on Tuesday 27th of October, 2020 by the army authorities, which was written in simple, clear and unambiguous English language, the content and meaning were very clear to any discerning mind, except perhaps to mischief makers whose stock in trade is to misrepresent & twist facts.
One must also inform that since the public release of the press statement on Tuesday the 27th October, 2020, it has been subjected to various interpretation other than it’s unambiguous and clear content in certain quarters for reasons other than mischief and evil.
Consequently, one has been very busy at various platforms engaging as his contribution to national discourse in enlightening some persons whose comprehension of the content of the press statement is incomprehensible in order for them not to be led astray and which is the basis for this intervention, for others, we know them and are less bothered.
Some of the persons in justifying their position on the military press statement, referred to the statement of the Lagos State governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu in reaction to the incident at the Lekki tollgate of 20th October, 2020, which he made on the 21st of October, 2020 during a broadcast aired by some national television station in which he accused the “military” of being responsible for the then “massacre” based solely on a video clip, the source of which has become controversial and the word has now changed to incident as the truth is gradually being unraveled.
However one must admit that Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu just like every other person who watched the “video” of the supposed Lekki tollgate incident, runs the risk of emotionally jumping to conclusions that yes, it was the military that was responsible for the “shooting” that we all saw in the “video”. But in any circumstances, if we may ask, is that a sufficient and indisputable proof to assert with certainty that yes, it was the military? Definitely, the answer is No.
One inescapable truth of our clime is that we live in a age in which the evil intentions of agents of darkness cannot be imagined going by how videos, audios and even statements can and have been distorted and concocted for purposes other than good and progress, we are all living witnesses to these acts of evil deeds in our society today.
Yes, due to one’s consciousness and adherence to the wise counsel of being circumspect in all circumstances, one was not surprised by the spontaneous reaction of allegations of being responsible for the Lekki tollgate “shooting” levelled against the Nigeria army solely on the basis of a video that has not been subjected to forensic analysis knowing fully well that we live in perilous times and society in which it takes more than an eagle eye to detect anything fake and doctored.
We have had instances where persons and documents have been arrested and discovered as being fake and imposter in professions that they have fraudulently practiced for years if not decades, stories of arrest and prosecution by law enforcement agencies to corroborate this fact abound in our daily lives in all professions such as medicine, law, journalism, security agencies, etc to mention but a few.
The press statement from the military is reproduced verbatim below:
“The attention of Headquarters 81 Division of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to a viral video on social media in which it was alleged that civilians protesters were massacred by soldiers at the Lekki Toll plaza.
“From the onset of the EndSARS protest, there was no time personnel of 81 Division Nigerian Army, Lagos was involved.
“However, the decision to call in the Military was taken by the Lagos State Government after a 24-hour 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 Lagos State Government requested the Military to intervene, in order to restore normalcy.
“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.
“Finally, headquarters 81 Division Nigerian Army reiterates that the Nigerian Army in the discharge of its constitutional responsibilities did not shoot at any civilian as there are glaring and convincing evidence to attest to this fact.
“This allegation is the handwork 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.”
When the Lagos State Governor Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu alledged the military as being responsible for the alleged Lekki tollgate “shooting” based solely on a video clip, he spoke from an emotional point of view and not as a representative of the military of which he is not, same thing applied to many people and organizations at home and in the diaspora, including yours sincerely, but caution made some of us to be circumspect and asked some probing questions which earned us insults, abuses and threats to life as response from various quarters.
From the above press release which was written in simple, clear and unambiguous English language, it said that “The decision to call in the Military was taken by the Lagos State Government after a 24-hour 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 Lagos State Government requested the Military to intervene, in order to restore normalcy”.
So, in view of the above excerpts from the statement, it is clear that the army deployment was made after the imposition of a 24 hour curfew on the 20th October, 2020 and as a result of violence…… This statement of the army simply implies that the deployment of it’s officers and men after the imposition of a 24 hour curfew announced on 20th October, 2020 at about 12 noon to commence at 4pm but was later shifted to 9pm same day, happened 24 hours after 9pm on 20th October, 2020
From whichever angle you want to look at it, from the army press release, it is crystal clear that the deployment of it’s officers and men after the imposition of a 24 hours curfew by the Lagos State government, took effect 24 hours later due to violence and so one is perplexed and left to wonder the source of the lies, falsehood, misinformation and misleading headline by some media organizations and persons that, army admits shooting Lekki protesters, army exposes Sanwo-Olu hypocrisy, military says exposes Sanwo-Olu, etc.
By this press statement, the Nigeria army corroborated the position of Mr. Sanwo-Olu that he didn’t invite the army against #EndSARS protesters at Lekki tollgate on or before the 20th October, 2020 and affirmed the army earlier position on the Lekki tollgate “massacre” of which it denied responsibility because it claimed it never deployed nor authorized it’s officers and men to the venue.
To those who are holding onto the earlier position of Mr Governor as their basis for the army being responsible for the Lekki tollgate incident, Mr. Governor exhibited his emotions like any person would, which goes a long way to reaffirm, that notwithstanding his office, he is also human, he was misled by emotions due to the video without waiting for the response to his queries from the army authorities.
For our information, if the army was to carry out a parade of it’s officers and men mixed with other security agencies personnel but putting on the same military uniform, one is very sure that Mr. Governor would be unable to identify a genuine soldier from others who are not, because it is not an area of his expertise.
This, one is cock sure that making this clarification will make some persons and groups angry and still maintain their position that, it’s a lie, we don’t believe, etc, but as former President Goodluck Jonathan while in office said in reaction to public demand for him to make his assets public, that he doesn’t give a damn, on that position I stand.
As we keep our fingers crossed over a lot of discrepancies in the report of the Lekki tollgate incident by the actor in the “video”, one is rest assured that whatever be the grey areas of the Lekki tollgate incident, we are optimistic that all will be laid bare at the Lagos State constituted panel on inquiry and restitution which has began sitting and the truth will come out, though it makes no meaning to those whose minds is already made up and like above, we don’t give a damn.
Long live Lagos State,
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.