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Soldiers are trained to kill but they did not take life during protest at Lekki, says former military spokesperson, Sani Kukasheka

Eyewitnesses insist there were protesters who died of gunshots

KUKASHEKA Usman Sani, the former military spokesperson, has said that military personnel present at the Lekki shooting in Lagos state were armed soldiers trained to kill, but they did not take any life, despite the reports of protesters dying of gunshots.

Sani said this during an interview on Arise News on Thursday while addressing the controversy over the shooting that took place in Lekki, Tuesday, October 20.

“Remember, the military is armed, and by the nature of their training they are trained to kill, they are supposed to come at a point in time and exit.

“There are procedures for taking over and handing over. But over time, we have neglected the time tested mechanism of conflict resolution. So the military in their wisdom decided to use blank armour which is meant for training to fire blank and not live ammunition.”

He reiterated that blank armours don’t kill.

“I think they should be commended for that otherwise, there could have been serious collateral damage but they were reasonable and professional enough to have done that,” Sani said.

When asked why did hospitals report that they have protesters with gunshot wounds if the military had fired blank armours, Sani failed to give a definite answer but instead said that some of the celebrities at the scene of the shooting had armed bodyguards.

“There were a lot of key actors at the scene which includes well-known celebrities and so-called big boys and we know that some of them had bodyguards that are well armed and a lot of things happen and I believe there are lots of recording that would be reviewed by the inquiry commission,” Sani stated.

Sani also did not answer clearly if protesters holding a flag and singing the national anthem is protected from being attacked.

“The National Flag is very sacred and symbolic to the fact that whenever they are having their parade they have the colour party and tradition, has it for whatever reason, if you allow the flag to fall not just the national flag or even the unit flag, definitely you will be court-martialled,” he said.

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He added that the National Anthem is also symbolic for the military, that wherever it is being sung, a military officer or security operative is supposed to salute or come to attention.

“But the issue now is and I would like to even ask you this question, let’s assume that Reuben Abati sitting with you there and you saw someone carrying the national flag and definitely he was aiming to kill Reuben Abati, and you are also armed, what are you supposed to do,” Sani asked.

The ICIR checked the video footages several times but did not see any protesters shooting or aiming to kill the soldiers.

On the allegations of the military mopping up bodies of ENDSARS protesters who were shot, Sani said there are standard principles and procedures of which accountability is cardinal.

“Accountability means they are conscious of the fact that whenever the military is called upon, definitely there would be an investigation, and it has happened several times over especially in the early 2000s where we had an internal crisis, especially in Kaduna.

“Therefore, you must be accountable and the military is not the public health agency of the government that they will have to clear scene or they have to tamper with evidence, no, they don’t but they must be accountable, take a record of everything that transpired because they know definitely they would be asked questions,” Sani stated.

When asked if soldiers could mop up corpses in order to give account, Sani stonewalled. “No, don’t put words in my mouth, I already said they are not public health agencies”.

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