The Nigerian Army has reiterated statements made by Brigadier General Ahmed Taiwo at the Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry that the Nigerian Army had both live and blank ammunition with them during their operation to disperse protesters at the Lekki toll gate on October 20.
General Taiwo clarified during his testimony on Saturday that only “blank bullets were fired into the air.”
In a statement issued Sunday, the Army dismissed claims that it contradicted itself by asserting it used only blank bullets while admitting to carrying live ammunition.
According to Acting Deputy Director, 81 Division Army Public Relations, Osoba Olaniyi, “Our attention has been drawn to report by both social and mainstream media insinuating that troops of the Nigerian Army contradicted its evidence of firing blank ammunition when it carried live ammunition for Internal Security Operations on 20 October 2020.
“We hereby state unequivocally that carrying both blank and live ammunition is part of our Table of Equipment for Internal Security operations.
“It is part of the Rules of Engagement for soldiers on Internal Security operations to carry both live and blank ammunition,” he added.
He further buttressed that, “the use of any of these ammunition as stated in our Rules of Engagement depends on the level of threat at the operational area”.
“Note that one of the principles of internal security operations is the use of minimum force. Minimum force in itself is a function of the assessment of the Commander on the ground.
“In this circumstance (Lekki toll gate), the commander on ground assessed that there was no need to use live ammunition that was why only blank ammunition was used.
“The blank ammunition was fired into the sky and not at the protesters. The results are glaring as there was no fatality recorded. This has been corroborated by both BBC report and other reputable news media outfits.
“The use of blank ammunition/minimum force achieved the aim of dispersing 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.
“We therefore wish to advise all stakeholders to guard against being used by local and foreign agents of destabilization who do not wish this country any good,” olaniyi said.