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#ENDSARS – Nigerian Army Confesses to Live Bullets at Lekki Tollgate – We Shot at The Air ! Still Refuse To Concede

By in swordpress on November 22, 2020
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Lekki Shooting: Army reveals roles played by two senior officers

Their names featured prominently on social media in the aftermath of the shooting at the Lekki tollgate.

A military witness, Ahmed Taiwo, Commander of the 81 Division, Military Intelligence Brigade, Victoria Island, has revealed the roles played by two of its men, S.O. Bello and F.O. Omata at the October 20 shootings at the Lekki Tollgate, Lagos.

Mr Bello is a lieutenant colonel while Mr Omata is a brigadier general. Their names featured prominently on social media in the aftermath of the shooting at the Lekki tollgate

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr Taiwo made the revelation while being cross-examined at the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry for Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and Other Matters on Saturday.

Mr Taiwo said Mr Bello is the Commanding Officer of the 65 Batallion which was at the Lekki Tollgate on the evening of October 20, and that Mr Omata “was present at the scene with him”.

He said Mr Bello was “the commander on ground” who gave the order for the soldiers to shoot in the air.

While answering questions from Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika (SAN), the counsel for some #EndSARS protesters, the army general said he was not aware that Mr Omata arrived the scene to stop the shootings.

“He was there after the shooting in the air, he was there to employ non-kinetic (non-violent) means,” he said.

While being cross-examined by Adeshina Ogunlana, another lawyer for the #EndSARS protesters, Mr Taiwo also threw more light on the roles of the senior officers at the tollgate.

“Bello had arrived the scene first before Omata, as the whole 81 Division Garrison had been given the mandate to secure the whole Eti-Osa corridor.

Nigerian army admits to having live rounds at Lekki Toll Gate protests, despite previous denials

(CNN)The Nigerian army admitted on Saturday that soldiers were given both live and blank bullets when they were deployed to protests at Lekki toll gate on October 20. The admission seems to confirm a key finding of a CNN investigation into the shooting.

“The soldiers they were both given both live and blank bullets. In this particular case, we saw that these protests had been infiltrated by some hoodlums,” Brig. Gen. Ahmed Taiwo said in his testimony to the Lagos Judicial panel of inquiry into the incident.

Brig. Gen. Ahmed Taiwo attends a judicial panel investigating the shooting of protesters in Lagos, Nigeria, on November 14, 2020.

“You had peaceful protesters no doubt. But there were also hoodlums who sought to take advantage. That is why they were armed (with) blank bullets in addition to the live (bullets) they were carrying.”
This is the first time the Nigerian army has admitted having live rounds at the Lekki toll gate. The army statement also contradicts previous statements about the incident including from Taiwo himself who told the judicial panel previously that the soldiers were firing in the air and firing blank ammunition.
In the aftermath of the shooting, the army denied any involvement, describing reports of the incident as “fake news,” before backtracking and saying that soldiers were present but fired their weapons in the air and used blanks, not live rounds.
The CNN investigation included evidence that bullet casings from the scene matched those used by the Nigerian army when shooting live rounds, according to current and former Nigerian military officials.
Two ballistics experts also confirmed with CNN that the shape of the bullet casings indicate they used live rounds, which contradicts the army’s previous claim they fired blanks.
CNN’s report was based on testimony from dozens of witnesses, and photos and video obtained and geolocated by CNN. The Nigerian army did not respond to numerous requests for comment prior to the broadcast and publication of CNN’s story.
Verified video footage — using timestamps and data from the video files — shows soldiers who appear to be shooting in the direction of protesters. And accounts from eyewitnesses establish that after the army withdrew, a second round of shooting happened later in the evening, by police, according to witnesses who spoke to CNN.
The police would not comment to CNN, but did deny ever shooting at protesters in a tweet.
It painted a picture of how members of the Nigerian army and the police shot at the crowd, killing at least one person and wounding dozens more.
Saturday’s admission by Nigeria that live rounds were deployed is yet another in a series of constantly changing narratives as to what happened on October 20 at Lekki toll gate, where protesters had gathered to demonstrate against police brutality.
On Thursday, Minister for Information and Culture Lai Mohammed said that the military “fired blank ammunition in the air.” He also dismissed the CNN investigation as “fake news” and “misinformation.”
A US State Department spokesperson told CNN on Saturday, that they were “closely following the Government of Nigeria’s response” to the events at Lekki Toll Gate and said, “We urge that the investigation be thorough, impartial, and appropriately transparent and that perpetrators be held accountable.”
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