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The Nigerian Army has shared their testimony twice at the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution For Victims of SARS Related Abuses.
At Zikoko Citizen, we have been following the “Lagos SARS panel” ever since the panel was inaugurated, and we have also been present at the panel hearing on the two occasions that the Nigerian Army has testified.
In this article, we will explain what exactly the Army’s new testimonies mean, including the impact of these testimonies for those who seek justice for victims of the #LekkiMassacre.
November 14, 2020 – Day 1
The first time a representative of the Nigerian Army was called to testify at the Lagos State Panel on Restitution For Victims of SARS Related Abuses was on November 14, 2020.
On that day, Brigadier-General Ahmed Ibrahim Taiwo, the Director of Information testified on behalf of the Nigerian Army to the proceedings of the night of 20th October, 2020.
He began by stating that it is unfortunate that the unrest that has happened in Lagos since the #EndSARS protests has been limited to the Lekki events. He added that the Army decided to intervene in the protests because hoodlums had hijacked the protests in many parts of Nigeria, killing policemen and burning police stations, and even resorting to cannibalism.
He stated that the situation was like the Liberian civil war where different forces were resorting to force were bandits and warring parties where total chaos had descended on the society and warring parties were burning and killing themselves.
He stated that it is this terrible situation of things that prompted the Lagos State government to call the Armed Forces by 12pm on 20th October 2020 to intervene in the situation in Lagos.
He continued, saying that the critical situation made the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu to impose a curfew in Lagos, starting by 4pm, so that the streets would be free of hoodlums.
He stated that when the governor changed the curfew time from 4pm to 9pm, he did not communicate it to the Nigerian Army.
On the night of 20th October 2020, Brigadier Taiwo stated that the Nigerian Army officers of the 65 battalions joined with the officers of the 85 division garrison to secure Epe, Badore, Sangotedo and Lekki axis.
He maintained that the Nigerian Army did not use live rounds against peaceful protesters.
November 21, 2020 – Day 2
On this day, The panel hearing for the testimony of the Nigerian Army continued.
The hearing on this day focused on the video footage of the events of the night of 20th October, 2020, as provided by the Lekki Concession Company (LCC).
The LCC video is played, but the video has no audio. The video showed how the Nigerian Army arrived at the scene of the protests.
Lawyers to the Lagos State government take turns in cross-examining the Brigadier-General Taiwo of the Nigerian Army, who maintains that the Nigerian Army did not fire live rounds at protesters even after video evidence of people talking about the Army firing bullets at protesters was played to him.
The panel sitting eventually adjourned with the panel promising to summon other officers of the Nigerian Army if need be.
We hope you’ve learned a thing or two about how to unfuck yourself when the Nigerian government moves mad. Check back every weekday by 10am for more Zikoko Citizen explainers.