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Lekki Shooting: Only state government, not panel, can invite us — Army

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Tukur Buratai

The Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry probing the shooting of #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki tollgate on the night of October 20, 2020 has summoned the army to appear before it.

But the army has indicated not to honour any summons or invitation by the panel, except it is from the state government.

The seven-man panel, which began sitting on Monday, is also saddled with the task of probing allegations of brutality by men of the now disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad.

The acting Deputy Director, Army Public Relations and 81 Division’s spokesperson, Major Osoba Olaniyi, said it was not the duty of the judicial panel to invite the Army to answer questions regarding the reported shooting of unarmed protesters at the Lekki toll plaza.

Olaniyi stressed that the army intervened in the Lekki tollgate incident based on a request from the Lagos State Government and that it would only appear before the panel based on same directive from the state government.

He said, “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.”

Meanwhile, the 81 Division’s spokesperson has said the military will not disclose the number of its personnel deployed in the Lekki tollgate on the night of the incident.

Asked the number of personnel involved, Olaniyi said, “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.”

 

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