SaharaReporters has uncovered links between Brigadier General Ahmed Ibrahim Taiwo, Commander of 81 Division of the Nigeria Army, the unit of the army that sent troops to Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos on the evening of October 20, 2020 to disperse peaceful protesters, and late Colonel Ibrahim Taiwo, a former military governor of Kwara State, who ordered the killing of hundreds of civilians during the Nigeria-Biafra war and also participated in the plotting and execution of at least two coup d’etats.
The incident at Lekki Toll Gate led to the shooting and killing of at least 12 protesters, according to Amnesty International and other prominent rights groups.
Brigadier General Taiwo, who has been explaining the role the army played in that incident at the sitting of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry set up by the Lagos State Government to unravel the mystery behind the incident and also hear other cases of police brutality from victims, has been discovered to be the biological son of late Colonel Taiwo.
Since the incident of October 20, the Nigerian Army, through Taiwo, has given at least seven inconsistent accounts of what truly transpired at the Lekki Toll Gate that fateful night.
The most recent of his narrative came last Saturday when Taiwo told the panel that soldiers deployed to the scene led by Col. S.O. Bello, Commanding Officer of 65 Battalion, and Brig.-Gen. F.O. Omata actually went there with live ammunition – a claim totally in contrast with his earlier position on the issue.
He, however, said the live ammunition was for backup purpose and not used by soldiers deployed to the scene.
Before then, the Nigerian Army headquarters had lied on the day of the incident that soldiers were never at Lekki Toll Gate to attack protesters as claimed in the media, branding the story as fake news – a position they had since backtracked from.
While Brigadier General Taiwo has made different headlines in recent days following his inconsistent narratives on the incident of October 20 at Lekki Toll Gate, similar infamous acts by his late father during his lifetime are well documented and a subject of scrutiny any day.
Serving as military governor of Kwara between July 1975 to February 1976 under the regime of General Muritala Mohammed, late Colonel Taiwo was famous for his involvement in the overthrow of some military regimes in the country.
As a captain at the Lagos Garrison in Yaba, he joined Lieutenant Muhammadu Buhari (incumbent President of Nigeria), 2nd Lieutenant Sani Abacha, Lt Colonel Murtala Muhammed, Major Theophilus Danjuma among others to stage the counter-coup of 1966 over disagreements with General Aguiyi Ironsi's government, which they claimed was Igbo dominated.
This led to the murder of Ironsi and Lt Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi, opening room for Yakubu Gowon to emerge as Head of State.
Taiwo played a leading role in the coup that ousted Gowon and threw up Mohammed as Head of State.
On February 13, 1976, however, he was killed during a failed coup, which also killed Mohammed and led to Olusegun Obasanjo’s emergence as Head of State.
Before his death, Taiwo had in October 1967 after leading some Nigerian troops to Asaba, Delta State, during the war against Biafra, given direct orders for the killing of no less than 700 people including children.
For fear of being killed by the Nigerian Army, local leaders in Asaba assembled their people dressed in the ceremonial white attire to sing, dance and chant “one Nigeria” as soldiers drove by.
But late Colonel Taiwo ignoring this peaceful gesture ordered his men to ransack houses in Asaba and kill civilians, claiming that they were Biafran sympathisers.
He ordered the separation of men and teenage boys from women at an open square in Ogbe-Osowa Village and had his men open fire on them, killing more than 700 on the spot including children.
The massacre continued for days after the Ogbe-Osowa incident, which saw women being raped and others forcibly married to Nigerian troops.
The bodies of the victims were reportedly buried in mass graves in present day Delta State.
Curiously, some 53 years after, son of the same man, who ordered the massacre of civilians in Asaba in 1976, Brigadier General Taiwo, is at the centre of troops deployment to the Lekki Toll Gate on the request of Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on October 20, 2020 to violently disperse peaceful protesters demanding an end to police brutality and bad governance in the country.
Like it happened in Asaba in 1967, soldiers opened fire on Nigerian citizens clad in the country’s flag and singing the national anthem at Lekki Toll Gate, killing many of them in the process and injuring dozens more.
The incident has drawn global outrage with many calling for severe sanctions to be meted on all those, who played roles in the incident.