Nigeria: Army Went to Lekki With Blank, Live Ammunitions, General Tells Panel

An #EndSARS protest in Lagos, Nigeria
22 November 2020

Brigadier-General Ahmed Taiwo, commander of the 81 Division, Military Intelligence Brigade, Victoria Island, told the Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry into the Lekki Tollgate incident that the army went to the tollgate with both blank and live ammunitions.

He made the revelation while being cross-examined by lawyers to the #EndSARS protesters, Mr Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and Mr Adeshina Ogunlana.

Taiwo said there were men and materials from the Army at the Lekki Tollgate in the evening of October 20.

"We had men and materials - vehicles and rifles for shooting. A portion of the force carried live bullets in case they were attacked.

Another portion carried magazines charged with blank ammunition," he said.

Daily Trust on Sunday reports that the CCTV footage of the incident, which was played by the Judicial Panel of Inquiry, shows that the Nigerian Army deployed seven military trucks to the Lekki Tollgate that evening.

The footage was played before a packed audience at the panel, and the timestamp in the video showed people running from the vicinity of Oriental Hotel towards the direction of the tollgate in the Lekki area at 6.43pm.

At 6.45pm, the military arrived, and at least seven trucks were seen in the footage. At 6.53pm, lights appeared to have been turned off at the tollgate facility and the footage began playing in a blurry black and white video.

At 6.55pm, the military drove through the tollgate, and at 6.57pm, flashes of gunfire could be seen in the footage.

At 7.09pm, the protesters appeared to be surrounded on all sides by the military vehicles, which had flashing lights.

The video footage was recorded by the Lekki Consession Company (LCC). The video footage shows events that took place hours before the arrival of the Nigerian Army at the scene. It shows that the protest was peaceful till the moment the soldiers approached the protest ground and when the shooting started at 7: 48pm.

The panel adjourned till next Friday after discharging Brigadier-General Taiwo.

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