“The soldiers, they got both live and shiny bullets. In this particular case, we saw that these protests had been infiltrated by some hoodlums,” Brig. Secretary-General Ahmed Taiwo said in his testimony to Lagos Judicial Investigation Panel about the incident.
“No doubt you had peaceful protesters. But there were also hoodlums who sought to take advantage. Therefore, they were armed (with) shiny bullets in addition to the living (bullets) they carried.”
This is the first time that the Nigerian army has admitted to having live rounds at the Lekki payment gate. The Army’s statement also contradicts previous statements about the incident, including from Taiwo itself, which previously told the justice panel that the soldiers fired into the air and fired empty ammunition.
In the wake of the shooting, the army denied any involvement and described reports of the incident as “fake news”
The CNN investigation included evidence that bullet casings from the scene matched those used by the Nigerian army when they fired live rounds, according to current and former Nigerian military officials.
Two ballistic experts also confirmed with CNN that the shape of the bullet casings indicates that they used live rounds, contradicting the Army’s previous claim that they fired blanks.
Confirmed video footage – using timestamps and data from the video files – shows soldiers appearing to be firing at protesters. And reports from eyewitnesses state that after the Army withdrew, another round of shootings took place later in the evening by police, according to witnesses who spoke to CNN.
Police would not comment on CNN, but denied ever shooting at protesters in a tweet.
It painted a picture of how members of the Nigerian army and police shot at the crowd, killing at least one person and wounding dozens more.
Saturday’s concession from Nigeria that live rounds were submitted is yet another in a series of tales that are constantly changing, about what happened on October 20 at Lekki toll gate, where protesters gathered to demonstrate against police brutality.
On Thursday, Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed said the military “fired empty ammunition into the air.” He also dismissed the CNN investigation as “fake news” and “misinformation”.
A State Department spokesman told CNN on Saturday that they were “closely following the Nigerian government” to the events at the Lekki Toll Gate, saying: “We urge that the investigation be thorough, impartial and appropriately transparent and that perpetrators be held accountable. “