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Lekki shootings: Buratai ordered deployment of trainee soldiers, general tells panel, says Army unhappy Sanwo- Olu denied inviting soldiers

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The Commander of 81 Military Intelligence Brigade , Victoria Island, Lagos , Brigadier General Ahmed Taiwo, said on Saturday that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt .- Gen . Tukur Buratai , ordered the deployment of soldiers undergoing training at military schools for the Lekki exercise due to the shortage of troops. This was part of the revelations at the ongoing Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry probing the alleged shooting of unarmed # EndSARS protesters by soldiers on the night of October 20 at the Lekki tollgate . The soldiers were deployed to enforce the curfew imposed on the state by the governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo – Olu . When he appeared to testify before the panel, Taiwo said because “ the 81 Division was short of troops , the Chief of Army Staff gave an extraordinary order that all Army schools should be shut down and everybody should be brought to the operation .” He said incidentally he had only a day before , as an examiner of the Nigerian Army Intelligence , taught the trainee soldiers
about internal security techniques , adding that he pointed out to them on the operation day how it was unbelievable that only a day after learning the rules , they were going for an
operation in internal security . … says army unhappy Sanwo- Olu denied inviting soldiers

Taiwo added that the Nigerian Army was unhappy that the governor denied inviting the army , adding that it was also unhappy that the governor said two persons died from the military operation at the tollgate . The general , who made power – point presentation and showed video footages before the panel, described the # EndSARS protest, particularly from October 18 as “ nothing but violence and lawlessness,” stressing that the protest plunged the state into a state of anarchy . He said he believed that inviting the army was the best decision the governor could have taken given the burning of police stations and looting of firearms and ammunition ; killing of policemen , blockage of roads and extortion of money from innocent citizens by hoodlums , who , he said, hijacked the #EndSARS protest.

Taiwo said since the police had been overrun, the intervention of the army was justified , but he said the Army frowned upon Sanwo- Olu ’ s denial of calling on them . While showing the panel the footage of a scene where a mob killed someone , set the body ablaze and hoodlums talking about sharing body parts, he said the anarchy was reminiscent of the Liberian civil war . He said, “ These scenes are reminiscent of the Liberian Civil War when the fighters believed that once they consumed human body , they would be fortified , they would be strong .

“ It was these incidents that made the governor of Lagos State to ask for military intervention and, in my opinion , that was the correct thing to do since the police had been overrun and policemen were fighting for dear lives .” Taiwo said, “ There are two things the Nigerian Army is not happy about . First is his denial that he asked us to intervene. I spoke with the governor and said Army was unhappy that he said he did not ask the Army to intervene. But I am sure that after you watched everything (video footages), you saw he had more than enough grounds to ask for Army’s intervention; perhaps it was the way everything went.