The Nigerian Army has explained why it carried live ammunition with it to the Lekki Toll Gate. It stated that as part of its measures, both live ammunition and blank bullets are carried when it is embarking on internal security operations.
The Army has also stated categorically that for the dispersal of the Lekki crowd it needed and used only blank bullets.
Read it’s full statement below:
RE: CROSS EXAMINATION OF BRIG GEN AI TAIWO ON BLANK AND LIVE AMMUNITION BY TROOPS OF NIGERIAN ARMY*
1. The attention of the Headquaters 81 Division Nigerian Army has been drawn to news items on both the Social and mainstream Media insinuating that the troops of Nigerian Army contradicted its evidence of firing blank ammunition when it also carried live ammunition for Internal Security Operations on the 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. The use of any of these ammuntions as stated in our Rules of Engagement depends on the level of threat at the operational area.
2. Please 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 circumstances ie The Lekki Toll Gate, the Commander on the ground assessed that there was no need to use live ammunition that was why only blank ammunition was used at the Lekki Toll Gate. The blank ammunition was fired into the sky and not at the protester. The results are all glaring as there was no fatality recorded – this has been corroborated by both BBC report and other reputable news media outfits.
3. The use of 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. 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.