The Nigerian Army has patted Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on the back for inviting the military to keep the peace in Lagos.
Brig. Gen. Taiwo, who commands 81 Military Intelligence Brigade in Victoria Island, claimed that EndSARS protesters were plunging the state into a state of civil war before the military was called in to restore law and order.
Taiwo made the claim while testifying before the Lagos panel set up to probe multiple allegations of police brutality and the role of the Nigerian Army in the October 20 alleged shooting of protesters at the Lekki Toll Plaza.
Taiwo played a tape of a scene where a mob killed someone, set the body ablaze and hoodlums were talking about sharing body parts, Punch reported.
“These scenes are reminiscent of the Liberian Civil War when the fighters believed that once they consume the human body, they would be fortified, they will be strong,” Taiwo told the panel on Saturday.
“It was these incidents that made the Governor of Lagos State ask for military intervention, and in my opinion, that was the correct thing to do since the police had been overrun and policemen were fighting for their dear lives.”
Contrary to Taiwo’s narrative, Sanwo-Olu invited the military to dislodge protesters from Lekki before any general breakdown of law and order. As a matter of fact, the governor declared a curfew on October 20 and then invited the military to enforce it.
Although thugs allegedly sponsored by the government had been attacking protesters, the chaos that the authorities now seem eager to pin on protesters did not ensue until after soldiers laid siege to Lekki Toll Plaza and allegedly opened fire on demonstrators who were waving the country’s flag and singing the national anthem.
Sanwo-Olu had blamed the shooting, which the military claimed was non-fatal, on “forces beyond our immediate control”. But the governor confirmed the military’s involvement after coming under international pressure.
Nigeria’s chief of army staff Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai later told the soldiers involved in the incident to not be afraid of being dragged before the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.
President Buhari’s spokesperson Femi Adesina said the shooting would have been bloody had the president not acted like a loving father. Witnesses say soldiers killed at least 15 people at the scene. The government describes the claim as “fake news”.