INDIGENOUS People of Biafra (Ipob) leader Nnamdi Kanu has accused the Nigerian Army of lying against Governor Babajide Sanwoolu by alleging that he was the one who ordered the Lekki Toll Gate shootings in Lagos State.
On Tuesday last week, Nigerian Army troops opened fire on unarmed protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate, prompting widespread international condemnation. Reeling under the pressure, the Nigerian Army has tried to deny responsibility for the cold-blooded murders, trying to pass responsibility for the atrocity to governor Sanwoolu.
Yesterday, Major Osoba Olaniyi, the acting deputy director of the 81 Division of the Nigerian Army from where the troops came, categorically denied that civilians were shot at. He also alleged that the soldiers were invited to Lekki by Governor Sanwoolu despite the fact that under Nigeria’s constitution, state governors have no jurisdiction over the military.
Nigeria’s constitution is crystal clear in that its vests power to despatch the military in the hands of the president, who is also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. None of Nigeria’s 36 state governors have the authority to issue instructions to army brigade commanders within their domain.
Highlighting this point, Mr Kanu claimed that President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the soldiers to kill the protesters not Governor Sanwoolu. He pointed out that In the governor was not the head of Nigerian Army, so does not have the jurisdiction or authority to deploy troops.
Mr Kanu said: “Nobody should believe Nigerian Army headquarters’ claim that it was Sanwoolu that ordered for soldiers to be brought to Lekki as it is a brazen lie. Since when did governors become army commanders? That Lekki Massacre was ordered by the Fulanised president and executed by a Fulanised army.”
Over the last week, the Nigerian Army has come out with several versions of the events on October 20, first of all denying that its troops were there at all. Under pressure, however, the 81 Division of the Nigerian Army admitted that its soldiers were present at the scene of the protest but claimed they did not kill anybody.
Yesterday, the division then disclosed that its men stormed the Lekki Toll Gate on the orders of Governor Sanwoolu. This is despite the fact that since Nigeria became an independent nation in 1960, not once has a state governor ever had control over the military or deployed troops to a trouble spot.