The Defence Headquarters on Thursday asked Nigerians to wait for the outcome of investigations into the shooting of #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Toll Plaza in Lagos on Tuesday by soldiers.
It would be recalled that soldiers were captured in videos already making the rounds online shooting at unarmed protesters at the toll gate, which was one of the major gathering points for the protesters who were demanding an end to police brutality amongst other things.
The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, while responding to questions on the troops’ involvement in the incident during a briefing in Abuja on Thursday, said his statement may prejudice the findings of the Commission of Inquiry set up by the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
He however described reports on the killing of the protesters by the soldiers as mere allegations, adding that some military analysts had dismissed as untrue, claims that the troops were responsible for the killings.
According to Enenche, the military was involved in internal security operations codenamed, ‘Operation MESA,’ in nine states. He however failed to disclose further details on the joint security task force.
He stated: “The issue is not an operation that I can respond to, but I can tell you that it is an allegation, for now; so let us not set the cart before the horse.
“If the matter was still open-ended, I would have had a response for you but it is no longer open-ended, because immediately, not even up to five hours before midnight, the Governor of Lagos set up an inquiry. So, whatever we say now will not be fair to the commission.”
The Defence Media Coordinator further disclosed that the Operation MESA under the control of the state governments, comprised the Army, Navy, Air Force, Civil Defence and police personnel.
“So these operations are still standing and running and I am aware that the state governments are using them in all these capacities, that is internal security.
“The level we are now is internal security and that is why the police proactively came out and then deployed all their force package that are necessary to handle that (violence),” he noted.
On why security operatives were absent on the streets during the violence and widespread looting in Lagos by hoodlums, Enenche said: “they were on the grounds; maybe, they were not visible in all places.”