The Nigerian Army said on Saturday that it was not happy that the Governor of Lagos, Babajide Sanwo-olu denied inviting troops to intervene when the violence that trailed the EndSARS protest was getting out of hand in different parts of the state.
Testifying before Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on police brutality and the alleged shooting of #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki tollgate, the Commander of 81 Military Intelligence Brigade, Brig. Gen. Ahmed Taiwo, said Governor Sanwo-Olu first asked the General Officer Commanding 9 Division in Lagos, Major General Etsu Ndagi to intervene when the EndSARS protest was hijacked in the morning of Tuesday, 20 October.
He added that because the GOC did not have the power to deploy troops, the Governor was asked to reach out to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai who later approved deployment of troops to quell the protest which had by then spiraled into violence in many parts of Lagos.
General Taiwo who led the deployment of troops was however emphatic that the Governor was right and had every reason to call on the military to help quell the violence that trailed the EndSARS protest as the police have been overwhelmed by hoodlums who hijacked the protests.
He also said troops were deployed in every part of Lagos State and not just in Lekki, contrary to reports in the media.
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’m sure, after we’ve watched everything; we saw he had more than reasonable grounds to ask for the Army’s intervention.
The General who said the Governor may have denied inviting the Army because of events later turned out said the Army was also not happy that Sanwo-Olu said two persons died at Lekkitoll gate
The General had earlier informed that the military was not informed of the change in time of the curfew when troops were deployed to quell riots which trailed EndSARS protests across Lagos on October 20, 2020.
Babajide Sanwo-Olu had announced a 24-hour curfew on October 20, earlier scheduled to begin at 4pm.
However, the Governor later changed the time of the curfew to 9pm afterwards.
But at a few minutes before 7pm, men in army uniform arrived the Lekki tollgate where #EndSARS protesters had gathered and forcefully dispersed the protesters.
According to the officer, Taiwo, the governor invited the army to restore order after the #EndSARS protests degenerated into crisis.
“The situation was so dire and they wanted everyone off the streets. If you like, sleep in your office; if you like, stay at home if you are near your house, but get off the streets and let us deal with the criminals and hooligans,” Taiwo said.
“After some observation, this timing was shifted to 2100 hours, that is 9pm. However, this timing was not communicated to the Nigerian Army.
“Be that as it may, the Nigerian army deployed immediately to forestall further violence and loss of lives.”