The Nigerian Army has again contradicted another of its claims on the October 20 Lekki Toll Gate incident in Lagos by stating that its soldiers did not go to enforce curfew but were on another mission when they were attacked by some hoodlums, who joined the EndSARS protest.
Brigadier-General Ibrahim Taiwo, Commander of 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, who spoke before the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Saturday, said the soldiers were going for an operation along the Epe axis and had no alternative route that was why they took the Lekki Toll Gate area that had been taken over by protesters at the time.
He said that immediately the soldiers got to the toll gate, they were “pelted and stoned by hoodlums”, adding that soldiers responded by firing into the air in order to clear the way for them to continue their operations.
“The place was cleared at about 8:45pm and they said they were going back to their respective units.
“Later in the day, they went out again at about 11:00pm,” Taiwo added.
Taiwo, however, insisted that soldiers fired only blank bullets while admitting that some soldiers were with live bullets.
He also stated that given the same circumstance, the army would act in a similar way to that of October 20, 2020.
Recall that the he had said that the army was called to end the violence going on as a result of the #EndSARS protest and were at the Lekki Toll Gate.
He added that the army was not informed by the state government that the curfew had been shifted to 9:00pm on that day.
Also, in a statement credited to the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, the Acting Director of Army Public Relations, Sagir Musa, the Nigerian Army said its officers were simply ensuring compliance with the curfew put in place by the Lagos State Government.
The army revealed that they were invited by Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-olu, as it expressed its disappointment at the governor for publicly denying his involvement in the matter.
Recall that due to the involvement of the military, about a dozen protesters were killed at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20 with many others left with gunshot injuries.
The killing of the protesters sparked an outrage in the state leading to wanton destruction of properties by hoodlums.