Brigadier General Ahmed Ibrahim Taiwo, commander, 81 Division of the Nigeria Army has revealed that the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu requested the presence of the Army to quell riots in the state during the #EndSARS protest.
He made this known while testifying under oath before the Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry on SARS over what transpired at the Lekki Tollgate on October 20, 2020,
Brig. Gen Taiwo, however, added that the state government 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.
“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.
According to Taiwo though, the “the change in curfew time was not communicated to the Nigeria Army.”
He said 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.
“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.”
This is also as he stated that the Nigerian Army was unhappy that the Governor Sanwo-Olu, denied inviting the military on October 20, 2020, when soldiers opened fire at protesters in the Lekki area of the state.
The general, however, said inviting the military was the best decision the Lagos governor could have taken as the #EndSARS protest plunged the state into anarchy.
He said, “I spoke with the governor and said the Army was unhappy that he said he did not ask for Army’s intervention 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.”