A retired Captain from the United States Army, Bishop Johnson, has said that it is wrong and unethical for soldiers of the Nigerian Army to go to the scene of the Lekki tollgate civilian protest with live ammunition.
The ex-U.S officer added that the soldiers were not supposed to be at the scene, and if they were for any reason, they “should have only been there with some crowd-control equipment such as teargas and others.”
Speaking with PUNCH, when asked if it was right for the army to have gone to the scene of the protest with live ammunition, Johnson said, “Based on my perspective as a former US soldier, first and foremost, the army ought not to have been there. The people who ought to have been there should have been the police. Now, I understand that the constitution allows the army to participate in internal security operations in Nigeria, but that should only happen when they are called upon to do so.
”And the police have to demonstrate that they can’t quell the unrest, but I don’t think what happened (on October 20) had gone beyond the ability of the police to suppress it. Besides, the protesters were peaceful, carrying the Nigerian flags and singing the Nigerian national anthem.
“So, for me, I don’t see where that poses a threat to the national security of the country other than the fact that the crowd was just there. First, the Nigerian Army ought not to have been there. And if they were there, they should not have been there with live ammunition. They should have only been there with some crowd-control equipment such as teargas and others. They should not fire live ammunition.”
Also speaking on why the political leaders manipulated the military in Nigeria, the retired US officer said institutions in the country were very weak.
“It is because we have very weak institutions. The military’s loyalty ought not to be to the President or any citizen of this country. The military’s loyalty ought to be to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. If you look at what happened in the USA recently, despite the steps by President Donald Trump, the institutions stood firm, and they are fighting back,” he added.