NIGERIAN Army commanders have testified before the Lagos State Panel of Judicial Inquiry probing police brutality and the shooting of #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20 claiming that no demonstrators was shot.
Earlier today, the panel resumed sitting after suspending sittings for a week because the youth representatives pulled out over government prosecution of their members. They had boycotted the panel in protest against the freezing of the bank accounts of supporters of their protest by the federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Last Saturday, the Justice Doris Okuwobi-led panel was forced to suspend its sittings due to the boycott of the panel sitting by the two youth representatives on the panel Oluwarinu Oduala and Temitope Majekodunmi. One of the accounts frozen by the CBN belonged to Mr Oduala.
Commenting on the absence of the youth members last Saturday, Justice Okuwobi had said without the youths, the panel could not form a quorum and had no other option but to adjourned till today. However, the panel resume sitting today with the two youth members present and listened to testimony from a Nigerian Army witness.
Brigadier Ahmed Taiwo, the commander of the 81 Military Intelligence Brigade of the Nigerian Army, gave a three-hour testimony on his feet, before the panel of enquiry, during which he reiterated that no one died in Lekki. He added that he soldiers fired blank cartridges in the air and the only confirmed person that died did not die as a result gunshot wounds.
Also, Brigadier Taiwo said the Nigerian Army had bigger fish to fry than to be looking for DJ Switch to arrest her. Pointing out that DJ Switch is inconsequential to the army, he called her a serial liar and challenged DJ Switch to come out of hiding and appear before the panel to substantiate her claims that 15 people died at Lekki.
In addition, Brigadier Taiwo revealed that Governor Babajide Sanwoolu invited the military to intervene because the police had been overrun. He expressed his utmost disappointment at the cowardly dispositions of the governor for not owning up to the fact that he invited the military.
Brigadier Taiwo said: “I can’t really understand why Governor Sanwoolu is being evasive in owning up. The governor had very good reasons to invite the military.”
General Taiwo will be cross-examined on Thursday by EndSARS lawyers, led by its lead counsel Adesina Ogunlana. Justice Okuwobi’s judicial panel which was set up nearly three weeks ago, is expected to look into other cases of police brutality with a view to ensuring justice for the victims.