A former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, has denied any involvement in the Tuesday shooting of #EndSARS protesters by some soldiers in Lagos.
The shooting has attracted global outrage against the Nigerian authorities.
Several allegations have been made against Mr Tinubu, a national leader of the All Progressives Congress, regarding the incident, with some people saying, without proof, that he “ordered” the shooting just to show his loyalty to President Muhammadu Buhari.
“I will never be part of any carnage. The use of live ammunition (against the protesters) is condemnable in totality,” Mr Tinubu said in an interview aired on Wednesday morning by Channels TV.
He said he did not “order” the shooting of the protesters. “There is a limitation here, I can only control my personal security guards,” he said.
Mr Tinubu was interviewed via telephone by a Channels TV reporter, Olu Philips.
He said he was “extremely shocked” when he heard about the shooting and that he was ready to “complain to the highest level”.
“It is early hours of the morning, there’s no way I can talk to the authorities or wake them up now. I have tried to reach the NSA, I have tried to reach the head of the army.
“You don’t call the president at this hour, but I strongly condemn the act. There are other means of settling or dispersing protest. Why would they use live bullets? There are rubber bullets,” Mr Tinubu said.
Mr Tinubu denied having any business interest in the Lekki Toll Gate where the shooting took place.
PREMIUM TIMES, however, reported that an advertising company owned by Mr Tinubu’s son, Oluseyi, owns an electronic billboard at the Lekki Toll Plaza.
Protesters who survived the incident said light in the area, including the billboard, was turned off before the shooting.
The advertising company, however, said it deactivated its facility in compliance with the curfew declared by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, unaware that tragedy would later struck at the location.
The former governor, Mr Tinubu said when the #EndSARS protests were going on in Lagos, people falsely accused him of being behind it and reported him to the presidency.
He expressed sympathy for the victims of the incident and advised the federal government to “fish out whoever gave the order (for the shooting) and put them on trial”.
He said the government has been slow in bringing to justice officers of SARS whose unlawful actions caused the protests in the first place.
He, however, said he did not believe President Muhammadu Buhari authorised the shooting.
“I am not even sure yet they are Nigerian army, I am not sure how well the uniforms of the army are controlled. But that is not as critical as the bloodshed that has occurred,” he said.
Mr Tinubu, who described himself as an “unapologetic protester”, appealed for calm. He said he was ready to “face all inquiries” over the incident.
President Buhari is yet to address the nation over the incident.
“We have lost our sleep, we have lost our peace of mind, (and) we just have to deal with it,” Mr Tinubu added.