The Commander, 9 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Brig Gen Musa Etsu Ndagi, representing the Nigerian Army on the Lagos State Security Council, has revealed that he received an urgent phone call from Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the embattled Lagos State Governor, at about 7.23pm (local time) on October 20, 2020. He says that the Governor in the phone call told him that a certain Lt Col Bello was reportedly engaging in a shooting spree at the Lekki tollgate where #EndSARS protesters were gathered.
Etsu-Ndagi disclosed that called Bello immediately, who is the Commanding Officer, 65 Battalion, Bonny Camp, Victoria Island, and he (Bello) told him that he only fired blank ammunition into the air.
Etsu-Ndagi, is one of the top four military officers who have been listed as witnesses of the Nigerian Army before the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry which is making probes and investigations into the Lekki tollgate shootings.
Etsu-Ndagi added in his statement that he believes the account of Lt. Col Bello that the soldiers never shot at or killed anyone and that they were rather shooting into the air on the said night.
He went on further to deny that live ammunitions were used on the #EndSARS protesters who peacefully gathered at the tollgate.
The other army officers who deposed to witness statements before the panel are the Commander of 81 Military Intelligence Brigade, Victoria Island, Lagos, Brig Gen Ahmed Taiwo; the Chief of Staff, 81 Division, Nigerian Army, VI, Lagos, Brig Gen Nsikak Edet; Commander, 81 Division Garrison, VI, Brig Gen Francis Omata.
it would be recalled that Omata was particularly identified by protestors, as the army officer leading the charge against peaceful and unarmed Nigerian citizens on the night of October 20, 2020.
Omata gave some controversial accounts on his part. He said that, “On arrival at the tollgate at about 7.30pm, I met a rowdy situation. I also met the Commanding Officer, 65 Battalion (Bello), who briefed me on the situation. He briefed me that he met a hostile crowd, hoodlums mixed with the protesters, who were chanting and throwing stones at them. I was able to disperse the crowd by firing blank ammunition into the air.
“At this point, stones and sticks were being thrown at us. Then I moved to a safe area and briefed General Officer Commanding 81 Division, Maj Gen Godwin Ahamefuna Umelo by phone.
“The General Officer Commanding directed me to pacify the hostile crowd and move the troops back to base. However, the crowd still continued chanting #EndSARS. I then instructed the troops to withdraw to base.”
Some eye witnesses have however disputed the accounts of the military, tagging it as palpable falsehood, the disposition continues.
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