LIVE BULLETS AT LEKKI: Nigerian Army Reacts to CNN Report
Reactions have continued to trail CNN’s report on the October 20 shooting by soldiers during the ENDSARS protest at Lekki tollgate in Lagos.
The CNN had revealed in its report that the Nigerian Army has not been truthful in its account on the incidence to the Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry.
The report showed that live bullets were fired at peaceful protesters and that Nigerians died, contrary to the Army’s claims at the panel.
The report partly runs thus: “Thousands of young people have been protesting against police brutality as part of a largely peaceful movement called EndSARS. But on October 20, these protests turned deadly, as the army and police moved in on unarmed civilians. The Nigerian army has called allegations that it fired into the crowd, “fake news” and told a judicial panel of inquiry that it did not shoot at any civilian, but a new CNN investigation can reveal this is not true”.
The Nigerian Army that is the alleged culprit in the shooting has responded that its personnel acted professionally at the Lekki incidence on October 20.
The Army did not elaborate, nor did it give further explanations to the issues raised by the CNN report.
The chief of army staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, said the Nigerian Army is professional and will never operate outside the rules of engagement.
He said this when he received members of the House of Representatives committee on Army at the Army headquarters in Abuja, who said they were there to brief the COAS about their observations during their oversight visit to the military formations across the country.
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 Burutai said “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.”
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