The Commander of 81 Military Intelligence Brigade, Victoria Island, Lagos, Brigadier General Ahmed Taiwo, has explained that Phase Four of the military internal security operation, which was deployed at the Lekki tollgate on the night October 20, involved the use of both live and blank ammunition.
He said the soldiers took live bullets to the scene for the purpose of self-defence
Taiwo said a portion of the troops that operated at the tollgate on that night were indeed armed with live bullets.
He, however, maintained that only soldiers with blank bullets fired shots into the air.
The general stated this on Saturday at the resumed proceedings of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry probing the alleged killing of #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki tollgate on the night of October 20 by soldiers.
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, Messrs Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika (SAN) and Mr Adesina Ogunlana.
When Olumide-Fusika asked Taiwo if soldiers who went to the tollgate carried guns, Taiwo said, “When you are talking of guns, you are talking about high-calibre guns. They were carrying rifles; not guns.”
On further pressing by Olumide-Fusika, Taiwo added, “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.”
Also, under cross-examination by Ogunlana, Taiwo explained that in Phase Four military internal security operation “soldiers would be given both live and blank bullets.”
He said, “In this particular case, we saw that the peaceful protest had been infiltrated by hoodlums. They were peaceful protesters, no doubt, but there were also hoodlums who sought to take advantage, that was why they were armed with blank bullets in addition with live bullets.”