The Nigerian Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, expressed displeasure with the manner in which the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and Other Matters (Lagos EndSARS Panel), report leaked yesterday.
Irabor who spoke when he paid a courtesy visit to the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki in Benin-City, equally faulted the attack on soldiers, noting that they are professionals who are guided by rules of engagement.
According to him, “we will not at this point think that Nigerians should make disparaging remarks regarding the Armed Forces of Nigeria, in the sense that we are a professional armed forces. If there are issues, of course, we address them within the ambit of the provisions.
“I am sure those of you in the media must have seen a report that was released through, in my view, a wrong channel, that is making the rounds in the social media.
“Whether it is a true report, I can’t tell. But I’d like to indicate that the normal procedure is to have such a report submitted to the convening authority. And then there will be a white paper that will be presented, based on which one can make informed comments.
“But whatever it is currently, I’d like to indicate that the Armed Forces of Nigeria is a professional armed force. We are peopled by Nigerians and we remain committed to the constitutional mandate. So we will not at this point think that Nigerians should make disparaging remarks regarding the Armed Forces of Nigeria, in the sense that we are a professional armed forces. If there are issues, of course, we address them within the ambit of the provisions.
“It would not be right to disparage men and women who have worked so hard to ensure that the territorial integrity of this nation is kept intact. So in the meantime, until I see the full extent of the report.
“I can assure that the Armed Forces of Nigeria are well-disciplined and we do not engage in any ignoble acts. If Nigerians do not trust us, then we won’t be doing what we are doing, and in any case, it is the Armed Forces of Nigeria; we are not talking of the police. So when the Armed Forces are called out, it is because there is a need; there is no one who doesn’t desire to live in peace.
“We need to understand that the Armed Forces are there to keep the peace, to provide the ambiance that will enable each Nigerian to live his or her desires in peace and harmony. So let us not make inciting comments that will put the entire space on fire. That’s not right.”
Recall that the Lagos EndSARS Panel , yesterday submitted its report, accusing the Nigerian Army and Police force of shooting at the innocent protesters at the Lekki Tollgate on October 20 last year.
The panel also listed names of those killed and injured by security forces on the day of the Lekki Tollgate shooting, while recommending that those involved be dismissed.
The panel was inaugurated on October 19, 2020, to look into complaints of citizens against human rights abuses by the police, but following the October 20 incident, the Terms of Reference of the Panel was expanded to cover it.
When asked to comment on the content of the report, Irabor declined, noting that he has not seen the official report.