Brig.-Gen. Ahmed Taiwo, Commander of the 81 Division, Military Intelligence Brigade, Victoria Island has said that he was unaware that the Nigerian Army Headquarters had described the shootings at the Lekki Tollgate as “fake news” on Twitter.
Taiwo made the disclosure on Saturday while being cross-examined at the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry for Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and Other Matters.
Responding to questions from Mr Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika (SAN), the counsel for some of the #EndSARS protesters, Taiwo said he was unaware of the denial by the headquarters of the Nigerian Army because he did not own a twitter account.
The Nigerian Army also admitted that it took live rounds to the protest ground but said they were meant for the protection of the army team that was deployed to restore order in the state.
The army commander said while the soldiers who opened fire used blank bullets, their colleagues with live rounds were on ground to protect from suspected hoodlums who fomented trouble.
“Why did you tell lies, why did the army deny being at the scene?” Olumide-Fusika queried.
Taiwo denied telling lies and said that the Nigerian Army made the first statements because they did not have the full facts and the army was not sent to Lekki to break up the protest.
“I have not seen the denial that the Nigerian Army on twitter called their presence at the tollgate as fake news,”he said.
Following the General’s denial, Olumide-Fusika questioned him further about the Army’s denials.
“There is controversy between you and our Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, when you (Army) denied saying that it was fake news and the governor came out to say he saw some footage.
“Based on the Army’s tweets, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) said the people that went to the tollgate must be hoodlums in army uniforms.
“Are you aware of the Army HQ handle on twitter? If you go to your HQ’s verified twitter account right now the denial is still there. I challenge you to go online now to see it.
“Are you not aware that information posted on the Nigerian Army twitter handle on Oct. 21 still exists till this day, aren’t you an intelligence officer?”the SAN queried.
Responding, Taiwo said Sanwo-Olu had made the assertion about seeing some footage before the army made any verification.
“I’m not aware of what the AGF said, I’m not on twitter. I’m speaking here as the most senior Army officer on ground and on behalf of the 81 Division.
“I’m not aware of the Nigerian Army HQ twitter handle, I do not follow it because I’m not on twitter,” he said.