Soldiers rampage: Army states own side of the story, flays Soyinka

The Nigerian Army have released a statement explaining their
side of what transpired last Friday July 4th
where soldiers allegedly beat up some civilians and set some
BRT buses ablaze.

The statement signed by Deputy
Director, Army Public Relations, Lieutenant Colonel Omale Ochagwuba,
says contrary to reports, the Lance Corporal killed by the BRT bus was
driving on the main road used by other motorists and not on the lane
reserved for the BRT buses. It also denied the army officers being
responsible for setting some BRT buses on fire. The statement reads in
part;

“On
July 4, a Lance Corporal of Nigerian Army, who was on his way to the
office on Ikorodu Road around Obanikoro area between 6:30 and 6:45am,

was knocked down and killed by a BRT bus with number plate KSF 995 XJ.
It
is pertinent to state here that the late soldier was riding a power
bike approved by the state government and he was neither riding inside a
BRT lane nor was the BRT bus that killed him driving inside the BRT
lane. The innocent law-abiding soldier was killed on the normal
lane being plied by everybody as against what is being alleged by some
sections of the media. Continue..

The soldier was hit from the rear and killed
instantly. As stated earlier in our release, the mayhem visited
on the BRT buses was the handiwork of hoodlums who seized the
opportunity of the tragic situation to vent their anger on the buses for
reasons best known to them. We know the peculiar nature of Lagos where
miscreants always take advantage of situations like this to cause havoc.
In
a situation like this, people are bound to wrongfully accuse soldiers
because they were seen around the offending bus which was not even
attacked. With careful analysis of the incident, one will observe that
the BRT buses vandalised were far removed from the scene of the
accident”.

“It
is pertinent to once more remind the good people of Lagos that the BRT
bus in question that killed the soldier and triggered the tragic
consequences was neither vandalised nor burnt. It was same
soldiers who are being wrongfully accused of burning buses and causing
mayhem, which is not true, that secured the BRT bus and protected it
from hoodlums before it was later towed into the barracks for safety and
also prevented the hoodlums from causing further mayhem on the road and
cleared the route for traffic to flow. We have pictures of the
bus at the scene of the accident and while it was being towed away to
safety. The bus in question has since been released to the BRT
management. The question begging for answer now is: why is the
bus itself that killed the soldier which was already in soldiers hands
not vandalised or burnt? Is it not logical that, it should have been the
first target of their anger as alleged? These are hard times for
Nigerians and all hands should be on the deck to bring peace to the
country rather than inflame passion. The Lagos State Government, which
is supposed to be the most aggrieved party, did not jump into
conclusions. The Lagos State Government said they are investigating.
That is a matured way of handling situation rather than reacting on
public opinion.”

The Army also reacted to a statement
credited to Nobel Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka where he was alleged to
have said the army was “Mad” while reacting to the Friday July 4th
incident

“In
a situation where a respected elder statesman will stand up in a public
function and based on hear-say call a respected professional
organisation like the Nigerian Army which is one of the major pillars of
democracy and fighting to keep the country together as mad, is
unfortunate and unbecoming. In less than a week, he has made two
careless offensive statements. At times, he seems to speak before
weighing the consequences of his statement. The Nigerian Army is a
professional force which is law-abiding like any other citizen. The
military is a highly disciplined organisation which also takes necessary
steps to see that its erring members are brought to book at any time
the need arises to enforce discipline.”

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