The Armed Forces of Nigeria on Thursday said viral video of soldiers opening fire and killing EndSARS protesters Lekki Tollgate Plaza, Lagos “is a lie.”
Multiple viral videos on social media showed the moment soldiers opened fire on the protesters. The clips also showed how the protesters were terrified, crouching and screaming as gunshots rained.
Coordinator Defence Media Operations, Defence Headquarters, Major General John Enenche, told journalists in Abuja explained that an analyst commissioned by the military have examined the trending videos and have conclusively reported that they were photo-shopped.
According to General Enenche, “carrying people to Photoshop is a small thing now. Please, let us be careful because I can tell you that the mind of the Military High Command is to ensure that we face the major operations on our hand now squarely.
“Right now, from what I can see and all the evidencies, as a general, I can tell you that it may not be true.
“Up till this morning, before I came here, I even got analyst, people that have analysed various videos that were photoshopped and put together. If not that I am not permitted, I would have forwarded it to you. The analyst took interest to do their analysis and conclusively said that it is a lie.”
He appealed to Nigerians to wait for the outcome of the investigation which was ordered by the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu shortly after the incident.
“Let us not set the cat before the horse. If the issue was still open ended, I could have had an answer for you. But now it is not open ended. Not up to five hours after the incident, the Governor of Lagos set up an inquiry. Whatever I say now, will not be fair to that panel.
“It is good for us to be patient in a situation like this and let us allow the appropriate segment of the society to handle the issue. The issue is not an operation that I would respond to affirmatively to, for now it is an accusation.”
The Military Spokesperson noted that “Operation Mesa is strictly under policy directives of all the various States. We have them in all the States and it is the oldest of all the operations. In this operation, you have the military. I don’t know why people just specify on the Army.
“The example of operation Mesa is the one we have here in FCT (Federal Capital Territory). You will see a mix of Army, Navy, Air Force, Police, Civil Defence and put together. These operations are still standing and running and I am aware that various State governments are using them in all internal security. The level we are now is internal security.”
General Enenche said that “any soldier that is sent out is working with patriotism and to ensure that our democracy is supported and sustained.”