The Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, said that the reports of the shooting of protesters by soldiers at the Lekki toll gate were "massive propaganda to discredit the military".
He stated this at a conference on Monday with top army commanders in Abuja to chat on the #EndSARS issue.
Buratai, in a statement released by the Acting Director of Army Public Relations, Sagir Musa, said the military was only trying to enforce compliance in line with the imposed curfew.
He said that "agitators are falsely accusing" the Nigerian Army of having a hand in the acts of violence perpetrated by "miscreants" even in the face of glaring evidence.
The statement read, “The NA (Nigerian Army) has been aware of the grand design by the sponsors of the protests to draw it into the crisis.
“The plan was to embark on massive propaganda to discredit the military and the government so as to set the people against the NA once it is called out to aid the civil authorities. The NA being aware of the devilish plan was careful not to be dragged in and issued the initial warning through a press release on 14 October 2020 of our resolve to secure and safeguard a United Nigeria.
“Now the detractors alongside their local and international collaborators have mischievously and deliberately misrepresented troops’ efforts to ensure compliance with the curfew imposed by legitimate civil authorities in Lagos and other states.
“These agitators are falsely accusing the NA of being responsible for the activities of the miscreants despite glaring evidence to the contrary. They have continually threatened to report the NA to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and also threatened various forms of sanctions against personnel and their families.
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“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.
“Criminal elements are threatening us with travel ban but we are not worried because we must remain in this country to make it better.
“The first time I travelled outside of this country, I was already 50 years and a general, so I don’t mind if I live the rest of my life here.
“The events of the past few days in our dear nation have shown the determination of some unscrupulous individuals and groups to destabilise Nigeria by all means.
“These individuals, groups and other undesirable elements have hijacked the peaceful #EndSARS protest marches resulting to widespread violence, acts of wanton destruction and looting of public and private properties in many parts of the country. These acts led to the imposition of curfew in several states of the federation.
“Despite all these, the army has continued to exercise restraint applied all the principles of internal security operations and fully abided by the internationally recognised rules of engagement as contained in our published standard operating procedures for internal security operations which are derived from the International human rights laws and are in accordance with the international principles guiding the use of force.”