Former president Goodluck Jonathan’s media aide, Reno Omokri, has taken a swipe at the Nigerian Army after it admitted that its soldiers took live rounds to the Lekki toll gate where unarmed #EndSARS protesters were alleged to have been shot on October 20, 2020.
Brigadier General Ahmed Taiwo, commander of 81 Division of the Nigerian Army in Lagos, had made the disclosure during his appearance before the Lagos State judicial panel investigating the shooting incident.
“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,” Taiwo told the panel, adding that, “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.”
The brigadier general had claimed that the live rounds were meant for the soldiers to protect themselves against attacks.
But reacting in a tweet on Saturday, Omokri mocked the army for constantly changing position on its presence at the Lekki toll gate on the night of the alleged shooting incident.
“The @HQNigerianArmy’s account of their involvement in #LekkiMassacre is as straight as Bob Risky. It is as constantly changing as the complexion of some Nollywood actresses. It is as real as a #BBNaija female housemate’s backside. They took license for lie-sense!” said the ex-presidential aide.
Taiwo had contradicted the account allegedly given by Commander of the 9 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Musa Etsu-Ndagi, who had told the panel that Lt Col Bello, the Commanding Officer, 65 Battalion, Bonny Camp, Victoria Island, informed him that that “the protesters were happy to see the soldiers at the tollgate.”
Bello was said to have claimed that he personally offered the protesters water and drinks while encouraging them to go home and observe the 24-hour curfew declared by the Lagos State Government.
But in his account on Saturday, Taiwo said the soldiers did not engage in any form of dialogue or negotiations with the #EndSARS protesters at the tollgate because they were attacked by hoodlums.
“They were pelted just before Oriental Hotel, their response was to fire blank ammunition. They (soldiers) were stoned just as they dismounted.
“By the time they fired a few shots in the air, the hoodlums hightailed it. Our mission was not to clear the protest, we were just on our way to ensure normalcy on the Eti-Osa corridor.
“One officer was wounded, he was stoned on the lips. If we are attacked with stones, the only option is gunshot,” said the General said.
Meanwhile, the army had initially denied the presence of soldiers at the scene of the alleged shooting, describing reports of the incident as “fake news.”
It later backtracked on that submission, saying soldiers were present but fired their weapons in the air.
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