#EndSARS Report: CDS Irabor faults Procedure of Release, insists armed forces are professional; US ‘Looks Forward’ to response from FG, Lagos government

Nigeria’s Chief of Defense Staff, General Lucky Irabor, has faulted the procedure adopted in the release of a document said to be the report of the Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry on police brutality in the EndSARS protest in 2020.

The leaked report had indicted officers of the Nigerian Army for killing “unarmed helpless and defenseless protesters, without provocation or justification, while they were waving the Nigerian Flag and singing the National Anthem” at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020.

The CDS however explained that he could not, at the moment, comment on the content of the document because he has not seen the official report.

General Irabor, who spoke after a courtesy visit to the Edo State Governor in Benin-City, maintained that the Nigerian armed forces are committed to their constitutional mandate and do not engage in ignoble acts.

“I am sure those of you in the media must have seen a report that was released though, in my view, a wrong channel, that is making the rounds in the social media,” the CDS said.

“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.”

Meanwhile the United States on Tuesday said it was looking forward to a response from the Lagos State Government after the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry submitted its final report.

The panel was commissioned by the state government to look into the events of October 2020, including the shootings at the Lekki Toll Gate, and review cases of police brutality.

“The United States welcomes the conclusion of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry with the transmission of its final report,” a statement from the US Embassy in Lagos said.

“We look forward to the Lagos State government’s response as part of a process that represents an important mechanism of accountability regarding the #EndSARS protests and the events that took place near the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020.

“Those events led to serious allegations against some members of the security forces, and we look forward to the Lagos State and federal governments taking suitable measures to address those alleged abuses as well as the grievances of the victims and their families.”

Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has set up a four-member committee to raise a White Paper on the report.

The Committee is expected to work for the next two weeks on the White Paper, which will be considered by the Lagos State Executive Council.

“We will ensure that the recommendations that are coming out that will be turned into a white paper and would be made available to the public,” Governor Sanwo-Olu said on Tuesday.

“We will do it appropriately so that history will judge us well and we will have a document that will stand the test of time.

“That is what the tribunal law says so that it will be properly documented and gazetted in government’s records.”

 

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