A witness for the Nigerian Army, Brigadier-General Ahmed Taiwo has on Saturday insisted in his testimony before the Lagos State Judicial Panel for Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of Police Brutality and Other Abuses that soldiers never shot anyone dead at Lekki Tollgate Plaza.
This was after the panel had viewed the video footage showing how the army arrived at the Plaza.
The footage which was viewed in the presence of the representatives and lawyers to all parties, showed the EndSARS protesters that had either gathered around the toll plaza or were moving around the area with roadblocks within the vicinity.
The footage showed that the Nigerian Army arrived at the Lekki Toll Plaza from the Ikoyi axis at 6:45pm. The protesters were seen running back to the Ajah end. The street lights went off at 6:53pm with flash of bullets fired into the air. Bonfires from tyres were seen from around 7:48pm at the Toll Plaza.
After the footage had been shown, a counsel to EndSARS protesters,Olumide Fusika, c cross-examined General Taiwo.
Fusika asked Taiwo whether he knew that the Army initially denied ever being at the Lekki Tollgate on the said day. The army witness said the denial was made because facts were not yet available at the disposal of the Army
He said that the Army went to the Tollgate with both blank and live ammunitions but only the former were shot into the air by the soldiers despite the fact that they were pelted with stones by the protesters.
He said, “We had men and materials such as vehicles and rifles for shooting. A portion of the force were carrying live bullets in case they were attacked”
“Another portion will carry magazines charged with blank ammunition,” he said.
The Brigadier General stated that the troops were not deployed to the Lekki Tollgate, but were on patrol to clear up the Lekki-Eti Osa corridor.
He said he got his information from Lt. Col. Bello and Gen. Omata, who were on ground at the Lekki Toll plaza, as he (Brig. Gen. Ahmed) was not there.
Another counsel to the protesters, Adesina Ogunlana while cross-examining Taiwo asked if the Army shot at protesters.
He maintained that none of the protesters was killed. He said , an action review was carried out and lessons were learnt from their intervention at the Lekki Toll Plaza.
The Chairman of the panel, Rtd. Justice Doris Okuwobi discharged the Brig. Gen. Taiwo from further cross examination after it was requested by the counsel to the Nigerian Army, Mr. A.T. Kehinde.
The Chairman, however, said that summons shall be issued for Lt. Col. Bello, Gen. Omata or any other persons in the Army that could be of help to unravel the truth about the Lekki Toll plaza incident, to appear before the panel.