The Nigerian Army has once again denied firing live ammunition at protesters at the Lekki toll gate while attempting to disperse the crowd.
A statement issued and signed on Sunday by the Acting Deputy Director of Army Public Relations, 81Division, Victoria Island, Major Osoba Olaniyi, said that carrying both blank and live ammunition is part of Army’s ‘Table of Equipment for Internal Security Operations.’
He said it is part of Rules of Engagement for soldiers on Iinternal security operations to carry both live and blank ammunition, noting that the use of any of the ammunitions depends on the level of threat at the operational area.
“Please note that one of the principles of internal security operations is the use if minimum force. Minimum force in itself I’d a function on the assessment of the commander on the ground. In this circumstance i.e. The Lekki Toll Gate, the commander on the ground assessed that there was ni need to use live ammunition, that was why only blank ammunition was used at Lekki Toll Gate. The blank ammunition was fired into the sky and not the protesters. The results are all glaring as there was no fatality recorded- this has been corroborated by both BBC report and other reputable news media outfit,” Olaniyi said.
He added that the use blank ammunition/minimum force achieved the aim of dispersing the hoodlums and crowd.
“It is pertinent to reiterate that the Nigerian Army is a law-abiding institution that acts in tandem with her Rules of Engagement,” Olaniyi said.
He advised all stakeholders to guard against being used by local and foreign agents of destabilisation “who do not wish this country any good.”