The Nigerian army has admitted that its men took live bullets to Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020, when #EndSARS protesters were dispersed after two weeks of converging on the place.
Ibrahim Taiwo, commander of the 81 division of the army, spoke while testifying on Saturday before the judicial panel the Lagos State government set up to probe the incident and other cases of police brutality.
Commenting on the incident while being cross examined by Olumide Fusika, a senior advocate of Nigeria, Taiwo said the live rounds were not used on protesters.
He said they were meant for the protection of the army team that was deployed to restore order in the state.
The army commander said while the soldiers who opened fire used blank bullets, their colleagues with live rounds were on ground to protect them from suspected hoodlums who caused trouble in the state.
An investigation by CNN indicted the army of firing live bullets directly into the crowd of protesters, reportedly killing some and wounding many.
The army initially denied it sent soldiers to the tollgate, but backtracked after Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos governor, said soldiers were at the toll gate on the night of the shooting.
Admitting that its men were present at the tollgate, the army said they were called in on the request of the governor.
While Sanwo-Olu said two protesters died after the incident, Taiwo said the governor was misinformed.