Commander of 81 Military Intelligence Brigade, Victoria Island, Lagos, Brigadier General Ahmed Taiwo, Saturday recanted his earlier words to confirm that soldiers who left Bonny Camp military base to #EndSARS Lekki Tollgate protest scene on October 20 actually had live ammunition.
The General while being cross-examined on his earlier testimony however said the live ammunitions were not used by soldiers who engaged protesters at the scene of the protest.
Responding to questions from Mr. Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika (SAN), the counsel for some of the #EndSARS protesters, Taiwo said he was unaware of the denial by the headquarters of the Nigerian Army because he did not own a Twitter account. Mr. olumide-Fasika had confronted Taiwo that he was telling the Tribunal lies.
Bullets used at the Lekki Toll Gate.
He said he was unaware that the Nigerian Army Headquarters had described the shootings at the Lekki Tollgate as “fake news” on Twitter.
“Based on the Army’s tweets, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) said the people that went to the tollgate must be hoodlums in army uniforms.
“Are you aware of the Army HQ handle on Twitter? If you go to your HQ’s verified Twitter account right now the denial is still there. I challenge you to go online now to see it.
“Are you not aware that information posted on the Nigerian Army Twitter handle on Oct. 21 still exists till this day, aren’t you an intelligence officer?” the SAN queried.
Responding, Taiwo said Sanwo-Olu had made the assertion about seeing some footage before the army made any verification.
“I’m not aware of what the AGF said, I’m not on Twitter. I’m speaking here as the most senior Army officer on the ground and on behalf of the 81 Division.
“I’m not aware of the Nigerian Army HQ Twitter handle, I do not follow it because I’m not on Twitter,” he said.
Patmos Media Line reported that General Taiwo on his first appearance insisted that his soldiers who were basically trainee soldiers had rubber bullets.
In that report, Taiwo claimed he is a ballistic expert and tutored the Tribunal on kinetic live bullets and rubber bullets presenting as exhibits both kind of bullets.
Asked by a counsel to some of the #EndSARS protesters, Olumide Fusika what the soldiers left Bonny Camp with, General Taiwo, said ‘Vehicles and riffles.”
When further probed if the soldiers’ rifles had only rubber bullets as he had earlier testified, the General said they had live bullets, but that it was meant for back up measures.
The CNN an American news outfit had exclusively reported with video evidences that live bullets were used on protesters and it was a massacre but Information Minister, Lai Mohammed described it is irresponsible journalism citing General Taiwo’s claim that no live bullet was used.
Despite this CNN replied that it stands by its report and the Nigerian Government threatened sanction.
People who live around the Lekki Toll Gate insisted that the sound they heard were real bullets judging from the staccatos and cacophony of the sound coupled with blood stains around the place.
The entire scenery as involved the Army leaves many questions hanging in the air. The Army Headquarters first claimed that their officers were not at Lekki at all and the circulating video was a photoshop. What now?
The Army claimed there was no live bullet now this.
It is within the Army ethics that a General Officer Commanding (GOC) does not take instructions from any civilian Governor except the Chief of Defense Staff; The Chief of Army Staff and the Commander – in – Chief of the Armed Forces so who gave the command? In Military parlance, the world over, the CIC carries the log.
Patmos Media Line present below excerpts of the report of CNN published by Patmos Media Line on 18th November 2020 captioned CNN Lekki report: 'They pointed their guns at us and started shooting.'
Eyewitnesses told CNN they saw the army remove a number of bodies from the scene.
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, admitted to CNN that footage showed uniformed soldiers firing on peaceful protesters but claimed only two demonstrators were killed. But, he then said there was "not a scratch of blood" at the toll gate when he visited. The governor said no families had approached authorities saying they were missing relatives.
Evidence of bullet casings from the scene match those used by the Nigerian army when shooting live rounds, according to current and former Nigerian military officials. 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.
Separately, Dr. Ayo Aranmolate, executive medical director at Grandville medical center, told CNN he and his colleagues received around 15 injured people that night with various gunshot wounds and cuts. None of the people they treated died, he added.
CNN has examined bullet casings found at the scene and confirmed with current and former Nigerian military sources that the bullet casings match those used by the army. Two ballistics experts have also confirmed with CNN that the shape of the bullet casings indicate they used live rounds, which contradicts the army's claim they fired blanks.
CNN has verified that bullets fired at Lekki toll gate are from live ammunition. This one was manufactured in Serbia in 2005, and is currently in use by the Nigerian army.
And working with the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, CNN has established that several of the bullets from the Lekki toll gate originated from Serbia. Export documents CNN has seen show that Nigeria purchased weaponry from Serbia almost every year between 2005 and 2016.