Coalition for Truth and Justice, CTJ, says the Nigerian Army did not breach its rules of engagement at the Lekki tollgate in Lagos or anywhere in the country during the EndSARS protests.
According to the coalition, the troops acted in its usual professional manner and have been agents of stabilisation, instrumental to restoration of peace.
The coalition said this in a statement signed by its national coordinator, Barrister Timothy Charles, on Wednesday in Abuja.
As a follow-up to the army’s statement on Tuesday, the CTJ said it carried out a preliminary investigation to ascertain the actual state of things.
It said from the footages reviewed, the troops were captured firing blank rounds to the air that couldn’t have killed anyone.
The coalition admitted that the sole confirmed fatality from the Lekki Toll gate incident was as a result of blunt force trauma and not gunshot.
With these and other “overwhelming proof”, the CTJ concluded that there was no massacre as being portrayed by “anarchists”.
It, however, urged relevant authorities to thoroughly investigate key people among the protesters, adding that it is possible that they may have opened fire on their own members.
“Contrary to the ongoing vilification campaign by pro-looters individuals and organizations, emerging facts rather suggest that the Nigerian Army has been an agent of stabilization that was instrumental to restoration of peace in many of the cities across the country with the curtailing of the violence that had threatened to spiral out of control.
“CTJ, in response to the statement issued by the Nigerian Army Tuesday night, has carried out its preliminary investigations and far from what everyone had said, we studied the situation and came up with a clear understanding that the Nigerian Army did not breach its Rules of Engagement in all the instances claimed by propagandists.
“While soldiers were being accused of shooting into the crowd of protesters at Lekki Toll Plaza, it is interesting to note that every single video clip shared by the #EndSARS protesters depicted the soldiers as firing into the air.
“The loud sound of the gunshots in the videos indicated that what the soldiers were firing were blank rounds while the silver shell casings retrieved from the scene by the protesters further confirmed that the rounds were blank and couldn’t have killed anyone.
We also noted that the bullets that the protesters allegedly claimed were extracted from the supposed remains of their killed colleagues did not show any deformation or denting as would be expected of projectiles that had made impact at high velocity. It is not likely that a bullet will hit someone and still retain its shape.
“Furthermore, shooting 15 people dead as claimed by the #EndSARS protesters would have flooded the scene with anything upwards of 75 liters of human blood, which would have been visible for all to see on the morning of the following day.
“There was no such and there were no remains, except for the tenuous lie that the corpses were handed over to soldiers, something that turned out to be false since no mortuary has reported receiving the remains and the foreign partners of the protesters have not been able to come up with satellite images of freshly dug mass graves as they are used to alleging.
Based on the insistence of the #EndSARS protesters that there was a massacre even in the absence of evidence and in the face of overwhelming proof to the contrary, CTJ finds it pertinent to demand a thorough investigation of key people among the protesters since it is possible that they opened fire on their own members within the protest in order to malign the government by accusing the Army,” the group said.