The Lekki Shooting heralded the end of the #EndSARS protests across the nation as the gruesome killing of the protesters sent chills back the spine of people nationwide.
The questions that followed this moment and other acts of violence during and after the protests have still not been clearly answered. The Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and Other Matters was set up specifically to help give answers to these questions as well as shedding more light on other discrepancies during the protests.
On Saturday the 15th of November, the Commander of 81 Military Intelligence Brigade, Victoria Island, Lagos, Brigadier General Ahmed Taiwo, said that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, ordered the deployment of soldiers undergoing training at military schools for the Lekki exercise due to the shortage of troops.
This statement goes against the initial statement of the authorities who claimed the army were not at the scene. He also made another stunning revelation where he claimed the army were invited by the Lagos Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
In his statement, he expressed disappointment over the governor’s denial that he was the one who requested for the presence of the army at the Toll Gate.
Taiwo said, “There are two things the Nigerian Army is not happy about. First is his denial that he asked us to intervene. I spoke with the governor and said Army was unhappy that he said he did not ask the Army to intervene. 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.”
A look at Brigadier Taiwo’s statement makes it look like government agencies and the Army are turning on each other but this could not be farther from the truth. This is because he went on to justify the army’s presence at the toll gate claiming the protests had become violent and it was pertinent for the army to intervene as the protests had become violent nationwide.
The Army and state government seem to be playing a game with the whole process because Brigadier Taiwo continued to blame the Lagos governor all through his testimony but every time turned around to support his move. Also, he continued the government’s tactics of gas lighting the youths claiming they only fired ‘blank bullets’ at protesters and that no one died like DJ Switch alleged in a live video on social media.
It should be noted however, that there was never any report of violence at the toll gate so why even fire blank bullets at the peaceful protesters in the first place?
There is a Nigerian adage that goes “The more you look, the less you see.” This unfortunately is the approach the authorities have taken to addressing the Lekki Shooting by giving conflicting reports.
Will the truth ever come out? No one really knows but one can only hope that justice is served at the end of the day.