Brigadier General Ahmed Ibrahim Taiwo, 81 Division Nigeria Army of the Nigerian Army who testified under oath before the Lagos Judicial Panel on what transpired at the Lekki Tollgate on October 20, 2020, has revealed that the State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu requested the presence of the Army to quell riots in the state.
However, according to Gen Taiwo, the state failed to communicate a change in the onset of a 24-hour curfew invoked by the governor. The state had changed the onset of the curfew from 4pm to 10pm to allow stranded commuters get home.
“It is a shame that the Lagos crisis has been reduced to what happened at the Lagos Toll Gate,” Brigadier Taiwo said.
“Little mention has been made of the wanton destruction that happened prior to that occurrence,” he continued, with ample mention of policemen lynched by mobs in some parts of Lagos.
“What is worse is that the families of the Police that were killed will not get closure because of the way their bodies were disposed.”
Taiwo also said that “the world over, it is the custom that the army intervenes when a situation overcomes the police and paramilitary services.”
He quoted Section 217 2C to back up his assertions.
“The occurrences that took place from October 18 were nothing short of lawlessness and violence.”
Taiwo buttressed his arguments with pictures and videos.
“This was what prompted Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to request the intervention of the army,” Taiwo said, a decision he believes was the best.
According to Taiwo though, the “the change in curfew time was not communicated to the Nigeria Army.”
According to Taiwo, the Army deployed immediately to forestall further violence and loss of life.
“Contrary to what is out there, it was done throughout Lagos State upon receipt of Stage 4 of IS Security. Phase 4 is immediate deployment of soldiers outside the barracks to intervene.
“To show how dire the situation was, the fire alarm beagle was sounded. When this is done, you report immediately to the parade ground pr the armoury.
“Troops were deployed from Badagry, Ikrodu, Epe, IApapa, Ikeja, Alimosho and even Lagos Island to restore order.”
He continued; “The rules of engagement for internal security were strictly followed.
“It is inexcusable for troops to stand aside and watch the situation deteriorate.”
The use of lethal force can only be used when all other measures fail to work, he said.
The use of force must be limited intensity and duration and commensurate to the situation.
Taiwo said the Oriental Hotel in Lekki was under threat of being set on fire while protesters pelted soldiers with stones and bottles.
The soldiers fired in the air and fired blank bullets to disperse hoodlums, he continued.