The Nigerian Army on Saturday revealed that one Lieutenant Colonel S.O Bello was the commander on the ground, who gave the order for the soldiers to release bullets at Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos on October 20, 2020, killing many peaceful protesters in the process.
Ibrahim Taiwo, Commander of 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, disclosed this on Saturday while testifying before the judicial panel the Lagos State Government set up to probe the incident.
The incident had triggered outrage within and outside the country.
Despite evidence of people being killed and injured at the Lekki incident, the army had maintained that blank bullets were used to disperse the protesters.
While answering questions from Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika (SAN), counsel to some #EndSARS protesters, Taiwo said that Bello was the Commanding Officer of the 65 Batallion, which was at the toll gate on the evening of October 20 with Brigadier General F.O. Omata.
He said, “Bello had arrived the scene first before Omata, as the whole 81 Division Garrison had been given the mandate to secure the whole Eti-Osa corridor. Omata had left Obalende to meet up with Bello and patrol the whole area.
“When I called Bello, he said that while they were being deployed, they were attacked by hoodlums and they released some shots into the air.
“I also asked him if anybody had died as it is being reported over the Internet and he replied ‘negative’ that nobody had died that he had only seen two people who had fainted and were revived.
“I had called three times and after speaking with Bello, I spoke to General Omata using Bello’s phone. It was one of those instances that when I called Bello he said Omata was with him.
“I spoke with Omata and asked if deaths were recorded and he told me no. I called him twice and he said no, that the place had been cleared.
“The place was cleared at about 8:45pm and they said they were going back to their respective units. Later in the day, they went out again at about 11:00pm.”