The Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, on Tuesday, faulted the leakage of the report of the Lagos Judicial Panel on Restitution for Victims of SARS-Related Abuses and other matters.
The report indicted Army officers for killing “unarmed, helpless and defenceless protesters without provocation or justification while they were waving the Nigerian Flag and singing the National Anthem” at the Lekki Toll Gate.
Irabor, who spoke after a courtesy visit to Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki in Benin-City, was quoted by Channels as saying: “I am sure those of you in the media must have seen a report that was released through, in my view, a wrong channel, that is making the rounds on social media.
“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 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.
“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 ambience 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.”