Nigerian army admits to having live rounds at Lekki Toll Gate protests, despite previous denials

November 21, 2020 at 18:49

(CNN) The Nigerian army admitted on Saturday that soldiers were given both live and blank bullets when they were deployed to protests at Lekki toll gate on October 20.
The admission seems to confirm a key finding of a CNN investigation into the shooting.
"The soldiers they were both given both live and blank bullets.
In this particular case, we saw that these protests had been infiltrated by some hoodlums," Brigadier General Ahmed Taiwo said in his testimony to the Lagos Judicial panel of inquiry into the incident.
Brigadier General Ahmed Taiwo attends a judicial panel investigating the shooting of protesters in Lagos, Nigeria on November 14, 2020.
"You had peaceful protesters no doubt.
But there were also hoodlums who sought to take advantage.
That is why they were armed [with] blank bullets in addition to the live [bullets] they were carrying."
This is the first time the Nigerian army has admitted having live rounds at the Lekki toll gate.
The army statement also contradicts previous statements about the incident including from Brigadier Taiwo himself who told the judicial panel previously that the soldiers were firing in the air and firing blank ammunition.
In the aftermath of the shooting, the army denied any involvement, describing reports of the incident as "fake news," before backtracking and saying that soldiers were present but fired their weapons in the air and used blanks, not live rounds.