Buhari Has The Power To Deploy Soldiers — Army Commander
Ahmed Taiwo, an army commander, who testified before the Lagos judicial panel on Saturday, says only President Muhammadu Buhari has the power to order the deployment of soldiers.
While being questioned by Abiodun Owonikoko (SAN), counsel to the Lagos state government, the army general said Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos, does not have the power to order the deployment of soldiers.
He explained that the governor would have to seek permission from the president before the soldiers can be deployed.
“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.
One day after the incident, Sanwo-Olu attributed the incident to “forces beyond our direct control.”
Why Won’t Disclose Identity Of Soldiers Deployed In Lekki Tollgate — Nigerian Army
The Nigerian Army says it will not disclose the identities of its men who were sent to Lekki tollgate on October 20, 2020.
Soldiers had dispersed #EndSARS protesters who prevented vehicular movement along that axis for two weeks.
The incident had triggered different reactions, within and outside the country, as the military and the federal government were accused of human rights abuse.
While there are reports that many persons were killed by soldiers, only one case has been confirmed so far.
In an interview with PUNCH, Osoba Olaniyi, spokesman of the 81 division of the Nigerian Army, said it is unprofessional for the army to name the soldiers who were in action on that day.
“It is against operational security. We don’t give that. It is against the policy of operational security. There is no problem here. The picture some people paint, as if we are fighting with the state government, is wrong,” the newspaper quoted him to have said.
The army had initially denied being responsible for the incident.
In separate tweets, the army had labelled the reports on soldiers opening fire at the tollgate as fake news.
But last week, Olaniyi confirmed that soldiers were the ones who carried out the operation.
He had said the Lagos state government invited the army to restore order after widespread violence.
#EndSars Protest: Army Insists Only Blank Bullet Were Fired At Lekki Tollgate
The Nigerian Army has insisted that only blank bullets containing gunpowder were fired at the Lekki Tollgate area of Lagos State on October 20.
Commander of the 81 Military Intelligence Brigade, Brigadier Ahmed Taiwo, made this known on Saturday when he appeared before the Judicial Panel of Inquiry set up by the state government to investigate cases of police brutality.
He also insisted that the military only fired into the air and not directly at the #EndSARS protesters.
While explaining that the blank bullets used cannot cause any damage to the flesh, Brigadier Taiwo said if real bullets were indeed fired, one bullet had the potency to kill three persons at one shot.
He reiterated the Army’s position that they were deployed to the scene on the orders of the state government.
While a curfew had been put in place to contain the violence that had broken out in parts of the state by persons who hijacked the peaceful protests, the army said it did not get the update that the timing which had initially been set to commence at 4:00 pm, was shifted to 9:00 pm.
Brigadier General Taiwo also maintained that the troops were not only deployed to the Lekki tollgate but also to other areas like Badagry, Ikorodu, Apapa, Alimosho, Epe, Lagos Island and the entire state to restore normalcy.
Furthermore, he claimed that after the soldiers left the area, hoodlums went on to destroy the toll gate plaza.
Credit: Channels TV