The Nigerian Army has said it cannot reveal the identities of soldiers who were deployed to the Lekki tollgate, which led to the shooting of unarmed EndSARS protesters on Tuesday October 20, 2020.
Osoba Olaniyi, The spokesman of 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, in an interview with The PUNCH, said it is against operational security to release the names of the soldiers who were deployed by the Nigerian Army to the tollgate on that day.
“It is against operational security. We don’t give that. It is against the policy of operational security. There is no problem here. The picture some people paint, as if we are fighting with the state government, is wrong,” the newspaper quoted him to have said.
Olaniyi also stated that the Army will only appear before the Lagos State judicial panel if the invitation is coming from the state government and not the judicial panel.
Recall that the judicial panel was set up by the Lagos government to investigate the shooting if EndSARS protesters at the Lekki toll gate.
Also, on Friday, October 30, the panel paid an unscheduled visit to the Military hospital Ikoyi to inspect the mortuary but were initially denied access .
However, they were later allowed in to the facilities and were told that the were told that the morgue is undergoing renovation.
Punch reports that an invitation has been sent to the military to appear before the panel but the 81 Division spokesman Olaniyi, said only the state government can ask them to appear before the panel.
“If we receive a letter from the state, we will go. Are we not under civil authorities? Are we not part of Nigerians? Have you forgotten that we did not go there (Lekki tollgate) on our own?
“It is not the duty of the members of the panel to tell us that. If the state wants the (81) Division to come, they will write and we will oblige. See, if they have written to the division, it is our duty to go. It is not for them to go through the media as if we are scared of coming.”
“It is the state government that constituted that panel of inquiry. So if anybody needs to get in touch with us to come, it is still the state and not members of the panel.” He said.
The Nigerian Army had initially denied being responsible for the incident after videos of the shooting went viral online.
Governor Sanwo-Olu of Lagos state has repeatedly said he had no hand in the deployment of the military as it wasn’t within his jurisdiction to call in the military to the state.