A commander of the Nigerian Army’s 81 division, Ibrahim Taiwo, has confirmed that some of the military personnel who were at the Lekki Toll Plaza on October 20 during the End SARS demonstration carried live bullets but “to protect the team”.
Taiwo said this while testifying before the Lagos State judicial panel on Saturday during a cross-examination conducted by Olumide Fusika, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
Editi Effiong, a filmmaker attending the panel’s sitting, reported the General’s statement via his Twitter handle.
According to Effiong, Taiwo confirmed the soldiers took “high calibre rifles” to the protest ground. “The firing team only had blanks. Some had live rounds to protect the team,” he added.
The panel had earlier watched footage of the incident as provided by the Lekki Conservation Centre (LCC), confirming that the security lights were turned off right before the soldiers began shooting. The footage lasted till minutes past 8 pm.
“An important point in the video – 19:22. On the top right, a large dynamic light source is seen top right. That is a fire, and the military vehicle is right beside it. Recall the vehicle up the highway. The military was in control of the area when the fire started,” Effiong narrated.
“We have just seen the gun flares in the direction of the protesters – 19:23. Protesters now running toward the lagoon side of the plaza. 13:25: It’s all dark at the toll gate. 19:34: A momentary light from a vehicle showed protesters still running into the slum settlement beside the tollgate.
“Military in full control. Fire blazing up the road. Toll gate still has power, but security lights off,” he added.