•Says Sanwo-Olu was ‘misinformed’ about deaths
•CCTV footage shows seven military trucks heading to the plaza
The Nigerian Army has admitted that it took live rounds to the Lekki Tollgate on October 20, 2020, when #EndSARS protesters were dispersed after two weeks of converging on the place. Ibrahim Taiwo, commander of the 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, broke the news while testifying before the judicial panel the Lagos State Government set up to probe the incident.
Commenting on the incident while being cross examined by Olumide Fusika, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Taiwo, however, said the live rounds were not used on protesters. He said they were meant for the protection of the army team that was deployed to restore order in the state.
The army commander said while the soldiers who opened fire used blank bullets, their colleagues with live rounds were on ground to protect them from suspected hoodlums who caused trouble. Addressing the panel earlier, the senior army officer said Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu was “misinformed” in saying that someone had died during the military operation at the Lekki Toll Plaza.
Taiwo said it is not correct to say anyone died as a result of the shooting at the tollgate. When he featured on ARISE TV one day after the shooting at the tollgate, Sanwo-Olu had said no one died from the incident. But hours later, he tweeted that he had received information about the death of one person. “Information reaching us now is that a life was lost at Reddington Hospital due to blunt force trauma to the head.
It is an unfortunate and very sad loss. This is an isolated case. We are still investigating if he was a protester,” he posted on his Twitter handle.
One day after, Sanwo- Olu said two deaths had been confirmed among the protesters in Lekki. But while being cross examined at the panel by Olumide Fusika, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Taiwo said no one died from the incident. When the lawyer told him about Sanwo-Olu’s position on the incident, Taiwo simply said: “The governor was misinformed.”
And in a related development, the panel viewed CCTV footage of the incident as provided by Lekki Concession Company (LCC), which operates the plaza, and the footage showed seven army type vehicles approaching the scene.
The footage showed that the scene was calm until about 6.43pm when people could be seen running towards the tollgate from the Oriental Hotel end. Two minutes later, at 6.45pm, vehicles, with flashing headlights, presumably military vehicles, arrived on the scene.
There were no fewer than seven of them. At 6.53pm, about 10 minutes after the arrival of the military vehicles, the tollgate went into a blackout. Two minutes later, at 6.55pm, one of the military vehicles drove through the tollgate to the other end where the crowd of protesters was gathered.