The Commander of 81 Division of the Nigerian Army in Lagos State, Brigadier General Ahmed Taiwo, on Saturday, said he was told that “only two people fainted” during the alleged shooting incident at the Lekki toll gate on October 20, 2020.
Taiwo said this on Saturday when he appeared as a military witness before the Lagos State judicial panel of inquiry probing the alleged shooting of unarmed #EndSARS protesters at the toll gate.
The Brigadier General revealed the roles played by Lt.- Col. S.O. Bello and Brig.-Gen. F.O. Omata at the scene of the alleged shooting.
Taiwo confirmed that Bello, the Commanding Officer of the 65 Battalion, was at the Lekki toll gate on the evening of the alleged shooting incident.
The army general also confirmed that Omata was at the scene, but said the order for soldiers to “shoot into the air” was given by Bello.
Taiwo said these while responding to questions from Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika (SAN), counsel to the #EndSARS protesters.
“He (Omata) was there after the shooting in the air, he was there to employ non-kinetic (non-violent) means,” he said.
Taiwo further clarified the roles played by the senior officers, saying “Bello had arrived the scene first before Omata, as the whole 81 Division Garrison had been given the mandate to secure the whole Eti-Osa corridor.
“Omata had left Obalende to meet up with Bello and patrol the whole area.
“On the internet, we were seeing videos being streamed of shooting and of people screaming that they are killing us and videos to that effect.
“When the initial first report came, I dismissed it with a wave of the hand because to me nobody sent anybody to the tollgate, I knew that people were to be dispersed along the Eti-Osa corridor.
“When I called Bello he said that while they were being deployed, they were attacked by hoodlums and they released some shots into the air.
“I also asked him if anybody had died as it is being reported over the internet and he replied ‘negative’ that nobody had died that he had only seen two people who had fainted and were revived,” he said.
Taiwo submitted that he spoke to Omata at about 7.35pm through Bello’s mobile phone.
“I had called three times and after speaking to Bello, I spoke to General Omata using Bello’s phone. It was one of those instances that when I called Bello he said Omata was with him.
“I spoke to Omata and asked if deaths were recorded and he told me no. I called him twice and he said no, that the place has been cleared.
“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 11pm,” he said.
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