The Commander of the 81 Division, Military Intelligence Brigade, Victoria Island,  Brig. Gen. Ahmed Taiwo, told the Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry into Police brutality and the Lekki Tollgate incident that soldiers had fired shots to scare hoodlums who attacked them with stones.
 
This is as he admitted that the army took both live and blank bullets to the Lekki tollgate in Lagos on the night of October 20, the day and place where peaceful #EndSARS protesters were shot at and allegedly killed by soldiers.

Gen. Taiwo, made the disclosure while being cross-examined by lawyers to the #EndSARS protesters, Mr. Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika (SAN) and Mr. Adeshina Ogunlana.

He however, insisted that the shots were fired into the air and not at the protesters.


Under cross-examination by Olumide-Fusika, Taiwo said that there were men and materials from the Army at the Lekki Tollgate in the evening of Oct. 20.

“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.

Responding to questions from Ogunlana, the Brigadier General said that the military acted within the Army’s Rules of Engagement and in keeping with professionalism.

“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.

The army General told the panel that the army was not deployed to the Lekki Tollgate, but were on patrol to clear up the Lekki, Eti-Osa corridor.

According to him, the soldiers on patrol were, however, attacked by hoodlums around the area of the Oriental Hotel, Lekki, injuring a soldier.

He noted that the army did not engage in any form of dialogue or negotiations with the #EndSARS protesters at the tollgate because they were attacked by hoodlums.

“They were pelted just before Oriental Hotel, their response was to fire blank ammunition. They (soldiers) were stoned just as they dismounted.

“By the time they fired a few shots in the air, the hoodlums hightailed it. Our mission was not to clear the protest, we were just on our way to ensure normalcy on the Eti-Osa corridor.

“One officer was wounded, he was stoned on the lips. If we are attacked with stones, the only option is gunshot,” the army General said.

NAN


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