#EndSARS: ‘Protesters Were Happy To See Soldiers’- Army Officers Tells Lagos Panel On Lekki Shooting

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Military officials representing the Nigerian Army before the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry probing the Lekki tollgate shooting said soldiers didn’t utilize live ammunition on serene protesters at Lekki on Tuesday, October 20, 2020.

The top armed force officials said soldiers didn’t take shots at or slaughter anybody, adding that there was no slaughter at the tollgate.

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A top military official and Commander, 9 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Brig-Gen Musa Etsu-Ndagi told the panel on Friday, November 6, 2020, that he got a call from the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the evening of October 20, that a specific Lt Col Bello was shooting at Lekki tollgate.

Yet, Bello said he just shot dud ammunition upward to panic hooligans, who were tossing objects at soldiers.

He said the protesters were glad to see soldiers, adding that he offered one of the water and beverages while convincing them to return home and watch the 24-hour curfew forced by the Lagos State Government.

He said, “I convinced the group to return home and watch the 24-hours curfew pronounced by the state government. Be that as it may, shockingly, the hooligans kept tossing stones, bottles, and different risky items at us and were consuming tires. I again shot some dud ammunition upward to drive the hooligans off. However, a few protesters who were still at the tollgate plunking down discreetly were given water and beverages by me while begging them to return home.”

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“We didn’t fire at the protesters. Clear ammunition was terminated upward to frighten the criminals from the group. No one was taken shots dead at the Lekki tollgate, there was no slaughter as guaranteed. The case that the military removed dead bodies was false. The protesters were glad to consider us to be shown in a portion of the video clasps of twentieth October 2020.”

Brig Gen Francis Omata, another military official recorded as one of the observers of the Nigerian Army before the panel, said when he showed up at the tollgate at about 7:30 on the night, the dissent had turned raucous and fierce.

Omata said, “On landing in the tollgate at about 7.30 pm, I met a raucous circumstance. I additionally met the Commanding Officer, 65 Battalion (Bello), who informed me of the circumstance. He informed me that he met a threatening group, hooligans blended in with the protesters, who were reciting and tossing stones at them. I had the option to scatter the group by shooting empty shell ammunition into the air.

“Now, stones and sticks were being tossed at us. At that point, I moved to a protected region and advised General Officer Commanding 81 Division, Maj Gen Godwin Ahamefuna Umelo by telephone.

“The General Officer Commanding guided me to appease the antagonistic group and move the soldiers back to base. Be that as it may, the group actually kept reciting #EndSARS. I at that point trained the soldiers to pull out to the base.”

Then, Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, has said that the men got on tape terminating into a horde of tranquil protesters at the Lekki cost might be punks taking on the appearance of soldiers.

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Malami said it is “pre-emptive” to infer that there had even been shootings, adding that “hooligans” may have been employed to make a scene.

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