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'Army unhappy Sanwo-Olu denied inviting soldiers' - General

Lagos state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu
Tochi Juliet

The Commander of 81 Military Intelligence Brigade, Victoria Island, Lagos, Brigadier General Ahmed Taiwo, said that the Nigerian Army was unhappy that the governor denied inviting the army to the Lekki toll gate during the EndSARS protest.

General Taiwo equally said that the army was also unhappy that the governor said two persons died from the military operation at the tollgate.

Army shows video footage of Lekki shooting

The General, who made a power-point presentation and showed video footages before the panel, described the #EndSARSprotest, particularly from October 18 as “nothing but violence and lawlessness,” stressing that the protest plunged the state into a state of anarchy.

While showing the panel the footage of a scene where a mob killed someone, set the body ablaze and hoodlums talking about sharing body parts, he said the anarchy was reminiscent of the Liberian civil war.

He further said, he believed that inviting the army was the best decision the governor could have taken given that the police had been overrun.

General Taiwo added that the intervention of the army was justified, but he said the Army frowned at Sanwo-Olu’s denial of calling on them.

Army not happy about Sanwo-Olu denial

General Taiwo speaking further said, "There are two things the Nigerian Army is not happy about.

"First is his denial that he asked us to intervene. I spoke with the governor and said Army was unhappy that he said he did not ask the Army to intervene.

"But I am sure that after you watched everything (video footages), you saw he had more than enough grounds to ask for the Army’s intervention; perhaps it was the way everything went.

"The second was that he said two people died. He said, yes, one person died at Admiralty Road due to blunt force trauma. Admiralty Road is about 3 Kilometres from that place (Lekki tollgate).”

How Sanwo-Olu invited Nigerian Army

General Taiwo said in trying to seek military intervention, Sanwo-Olu first called the Commander of the 9 Brigade, who told him that he had to follow the correct procedure by contacting the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, and the General Officer Commanding.

“He called the Chief of Army Staff, following which 81 Division, Nigerian Army was ordered into Phase four of the internal security operation. The call was in the afternoon, before 4 pm.

Due to the urgency of the situation, it was no wonder that the governor declared a 24-hour curfew, which was supposed to start by 4 pm.

Analysing that further, it shows that the situation was dire and they wanted everyone off the streets; if you like sleep in your office, or at home, just stay off the streets and let us deal with the criminals.

After some observation, this timing was shifted till 9 pm. However, this timing was not communicated to the Nigerian Army.

But be that as it may, the Nigerian Army deployed immediately to forestall further violence and loss of lives.

The deployment, contrary to what is out there, was done throughout Lagos State upon receipt of an instruction to activate Phase four of internal security.

The deployment was all over Lagos State, not only Lekki tollgate and the rules of engagement for internal security were strictly followed", General Taiwo said.

Soldiers used expended bullets

Taiwo insisted that troops neither shot at nor killed any of the #EndSARS protesters at the tollgate, saying only expended bullets were used.

“Blank expended ammunition contains only gunpowder, which just makes noise and a flash.

He explained that if live bullets were used, many of the protesters would have died as one live bullet shot at close range would kill at least three persons.

"If it hits you in the head, it will deposit the brain on the ground and go out. The entry hole is thin while the exit is wide if it hits you in the chest or the bowels, the intestines (will) come down.

I am an expert in ammunition, having stayed so long in the Army. Blank ammunition is slower and can do no damage to the flesh, and you have nothing to fear except you take a rifle, put it against your eye and fire.

Even if you put it against your skin and fire, you will only have burn marks to show for it.''

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