NIGERIA’S chief of army staff Lt General Tukur Buratai has ordered military commanders and troops to go after looters and hoodlums raiding warehouses and vandalising property across the country in the wake of the #EndSARS protests.
On Tuesday last week, men of the Nigerian Army opened fire on protesters at the Lekki Toll gate in Lagos, killing scores, although the actual death count has still not been ascertained. It is believed that the soldiers took the corpses of the deceased away with them, making it hard for there to be a definitive body count.
However, the shooting has led to widespread condemnation both home and abroad, with demands for an inquiry into what happened. Following the incident, there has been widespread rioting and looting across Nigeria, with government facilities being targeted by angry youths.
Earlier today, General Buratai held a meeting with all the principal staff officers (PSO), general officers commanding (GOC) and field commanders at the Nigerian Army headquarters in Abuja to address the issue. Following the meeting, he denied that the army masterminded the miscreants involved in the arson, vandalism, and looting of public and private property going on in many cities.
General Buratai then made it clear to his men that there must be no room for disloyalty amongst all officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army. He said the PSOs, GOCs, and field commanders must reiterate to all their subordinates that the Nigerian Army was determined to ensure democratic stability in the country as the only panacea for development and progress.
“The recent activities by unscrupulous elements have shown their desire to acquire arms and ammunition at all cost from security personnel. No less than 10 AK-47 rifles have been lost to these miscreants in the past two weeks across the country with attendant loss of lives of personnel,” General Buratai added.
Also, General Buratai charged the commanders to warn their troops on internal security or guard duties outside the barracks and be at maximum alert at all times and to also deal decisively with any attack on their duty locations. He explained that the army must be resolute in preventing agents of destabilisation from achieving their goals.
General Buratai added: “We will not allow any force, elements, or destabilising agents in or outside our country to set our beloved country on fire. We remain resolute in doing everything possible to ensure that subversive elements, detractors and other enemies of this great nation do not achieve their aims and objectives of destabilisation.
He accused unnamed individuals and groups of falsely accusing the Nigerian Army of being responsible for the activities of the miscreants despite glaring evidence to the contrary. According to General Buratai, several people and their foreign cohorts were hellbent on discrediting the Nigerian Army.
“They have continually threatened to report the Nigerian Army to the International Criminal Court and also threatened various forms of sanctions against personnel and their families. Thankfully, however, a large percentage of Nigerians and the international community have started seeing through the smokescreen of falsehood and deliberate misrepresentation of facts being orchestrated by enemies of Nigeria and have retracted their earlier false publications,” General Buratai added.