Nigerian Army says its troops also took live rounds to Lekki tollgate on October 20, 2020, where they dispersed #EndSARS protesters who had converged on the place for two weeks.
Commander of 81 Military Intelligence Brigade, Victoria Island, Lagos, Brigadier General Ahmed Taiwo, disclosed this while testifying before the judicial panel set up by the Lagos State Government to probe the incident.
He explained that Phase Four of the military internal security operation, which was deployed in the Lekki toll gate on the night of October 20, involved the use of both live and blank ammunition.
Taiwo said a portion of the troops that operated at the toll gate on that night were indeed armed with live bullets.
He, however, maintained that only soldiers with blank bullets fired shots into the air.
Taiwo, who was being cross examined by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Olumide Fusika, said the live rounds were not used on protesters.
But he said they were meant for the protection of the army team that was deployed to restore order in the state.
The army commander said while the soldiers who opened fire used blank bullets, their colleagues with live rounds were on ground to protect them from suspected hoodlums who fomented trouble.
Taiwo, who had earlier made a presentation before the panel in defence of the Nigerian Army on November 14, returned on Saturday for cross-examination by two counsel for #EndSARS protesters, Olumide-Fusika (SAN) and Mr Adesina Ogunlana.
When Olumide-Fusika asked Taiwo if soldiers who went to the toll gate carried guns, the Army commander said, “When you are talking of guns, you are talking about high-calibre guns. They were carrying rifles; not guns.”
But the lawyer told him that a visit to the toll gate after the shooting incidents showed marks or indentations suggestive of gunshots.
The general in his response said, “Definitely, a portion of the Force will carry live bullets, in case they are attacked. But the soldiers that formed the firing team, who fired, used blank bullets. And that is why you watched the video and saw exactly what happened.”