Why Nigerian Army intervened during EndSARS protests –Lagos govt

Punch

The Lagos State Government has said soldiers “intervened” during the EndSARS protests in the state in October 2020 to assist civil authorities restore law and order in the state.

The Babajide-Sanwo-Olu government stated this in its White Paper on the report of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and Other Matters which probed the EndSARS protests in the state last year.

The Justice Doris Okuwobi-led panel in its fifth recommendation had said that the “Nigeria (sic) Army be discouraged in intervening in internal security.”

In its comment, the state government said, “Lagos State Government observes that Section 217(2) (c) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) states that the Armed Forces may “intervene to suppress insurrection and also to assist civil authorities to restore lawful order” which had clearly broken down in Lagos between 19th – 21st October 2020. See evidence of Brig. Gen. A.I. Taiwo on page 35, Mr. Muri-Okunola (Head of Service) on pages 120-126 and ACP. Oludotun Odubona on pages 219-223). Such intervention must however be with clear rules of engagement.”

The government also rejected the findings by the Okuwobi-led panel that nine persons were killed by gunshots at the Lekki toll gate on October 20, 2020.

The panel had listed 48 names as casualties out of which 22 protesters sustained gunshot injuries, while 15 others were assaulted by soldiers and the police when they stormed the Lekki toll gate to disperse the young demonstrators.

It had stated, “The atrocious maiming and killing of unarmed, helpless and unresisting protesters, while sitting on the floor and waving their Nigerian flags and while singing the National Anthem can be equated to a ‘massacre’ in context.”

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