Reports following the EndSARS protest revealed so many inconsistencies in the the ongoing investigations with regards to the Lekki shootings and the military involvement.
There was a claim by the media stating that the military actually denied involvement in the whole sceneries at the toll plaza and that the shootings were carried out by men disguising as the Nigerian Army.
Soon afterwards after much inquest from Nigerians and International communities pockets of truth began to surface claiming that the military were actually present at the toll plaza but didn’t shoots at innocent protesters.
There was also the question of who implored the services of the military and invited them to the scene in the first place?
Whilst the Lagos state government denied involvement with the Nigerian Army in their first press conference, the military claimed that they did not just act on their own accord and that they were authorized to come and intervene and restore parity when hoodlums took over the protest.
Reacting to the discrepancies in the media reports regarding the shootings, Ahmed Taiwo, an army commander, on Saturday while testifying before the Lagos judicial panel, said that it was only President Muhammadu Buhari who had the power and authority to give the orders for the deployment of soldiers.
The army commander made this disclosure while being questioned by Abiodun Owonikoko (SAN), counsel to the Lagos state government. He claimed that the Lagos state governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu does not have the power to order the deployment of soldiers. He went further to explain that such an order for deployment of soldiers would only be made possible with an express authorisation and permission from the president. He also confirmed that such permission was also sought by the Lagos state governor before the soldiers were deployed. in his words;
“I know the governor spoke to the chief of army staff to the president before the deployment of the army. The governor made a request for intervention,” he said.
Since the Lekki tollgate incident on October 20, 2020, where soldiers allegedly opened fire on peaceful protesters, there have been questions on who ordered the deployment of the troops.
With the above revelations coming from the army commander, Amhed Taiwo, many more questions would be raised by Nigerians within the country and those in diaspora, while the international communities would be following proceedings closely to see the outcome of the investigations.
Nigerians recalled that the Lagos state governor Sanwo-Olu in an emotional press conference a day after the shooting at the toll gate attributed the incidence to “forces beyond our direct control.”
It remains a mystery what the outcome of the investigations would turn out to be. One thing however which is certain, is that, Nigerians and the world at large would want to see justice served to the families of the victims who were involved in the Lekki toll plaza Shootings.
Gift Joseph Okpakorese