The Nigerian Army has admitted that it took live ammunition to the Lekki Tollgate on the 20th of October, 2020 contrary to its earlier claim.
The army said this in a rather shocking revelation while testifying before the judicial panel set up by the Lagos State government set up to probe the incident.
The Commander of 81 Military Intelligence Brigade, Victoria Island, Lagos, Brig. Gen. Ahmed Taiwo had earlier informed the panel that no live rounds were fired at the scene.
However, Taiwo, while answering questions on the fracas during cross-examination by Olumide Fusika (SAN), claimed that the live rounds were not used on protesters, but were meant for the protection of the army team deployed to restore order in the state.
According to Taiwo: “We had men and materials – vehicles and rifles for shooting. A portion of the force were carrying live bullets in case they are attacked. Another portion will carry magazines charged with blank ammunition,” he said.
While being cross-examined by another counsel to #EndSARS protesters, Adeshina Ogunlana, Brig. Gen. Taiwo maintained that the military acted professionally and within the army’s rules of engagement.
“The soldiers will be using both live and blank bullets and in this particular case, we saw that this protest had been infiltrated by hoodlums. We had peaceful protesters no doubt, but there were hoodlums who sought to take advantage of the protest,” he said.
He, however, claimed that the army was not deployed to the Lekki Tollgate, “but were on patrol to clear up the Lekki, Eti-Osa corridor,” once again countering its earlier claim that the army was invited by the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu. Sanwo-Olu had earlier denied inviting the soldiers.