The Nigerian Army has reacted to CNN’s story on the alleged October 20 shooting by soldiers during the #EndSARS protest at Lekki tollgate in Lagos.
While the CNN in its investigation, alleged that the Nigerian Army used live bullets on protesters during its intervention in the protests, the military insisted its personnel acted professionally and “followed the rules of engagement.”
CNN unveiled the identity of a protester, Victor Sunday Ibanga, who reportedly died on the night of the shootings, adding that a forensic probe of the bullet casings recovered from the scene of the incident revealed that live bullets were fired at the protesters.
The network said current and former Nigerian military sources confirmed that the bullet casings “match those used by the army”, noting that two ballistics experts also confirmed that the shape of the bullet casings indicate they used live rounds.
According to CNN, it worked with the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network and “established that several of the bullets from the Lekki toll gate originated from Serbia.
Export documents CNN has seen show that Nigeria purchased weaponry from Serbia almost every year between 2005 and 2016.”
But reacting to the report, when he received members of the House of Representatives committee on Army at Army headquarters, Abuja, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, said the Nigerian Army is a professional Army who will never operate outside the rules of engagement.
According to him, “Let me assure you and all Nigerians that the Nigerian Army is a professional Army. We follow our rules of engagement. Nigerians should feel safe. We abide by rules of engagement and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
He also noted that troops are “taking care of” bandits along Abuja-Kaduna expressway.
The House committee, led by its chairman, Abdulrasaq Namdas, disclosed earlier that they were at the Army headquarters to brief the COAS about their observations during their oversight visit to the military formations across the country.
But the lawmaker didn’t disclose their observations before journalists were asked to step out.
News Express/Daily Trust