The Commander of the 81 Division, Military Intelligence Brigade, Victoria Island, Lagos, Brig. Gen Ahmed Taiwo, on Saturday, gave graphic details of the dire security situation that led to the invitation of the Nigerian Army by the state government during last month’s #EndSARS protests across the state.
He told the Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry established by the state government that the state had descended into a state of total chaos during the protests.
Taiwo used a projector to show graphic images of how policemen were lynched and police stations looted and burnt by hoodlums.
He said: “Many of us have lived through the 70s to the 2000s, and one thing I have said is that once a peaceful protest goes beyond three days there are hoodlums waiting in the wings to hijack it and cause mayhem and this was no different.
“This state of affairs continued until October 20 and even I was caught up in one of such mobs. The hoodlums I met are not the #EndSARS protesters we have come to see.
“It is the task of the armed forces to intervene when the security task overwhelms the police and other paramilitary services.
“Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu asked the army to intervene which was the correct thing to do.”
The army commander, who played a video of the siege on the Oba of Lagos palace by hoodlums, said the monarch and his family were rescued from the chaos by soldiers.
Taiwo added: “Both the Oba and his family members were ferried to safety by the Nigerian Army.
“The business district areas were looted and offices were ransacked and destroyed. The hoodlums attempted to invade the Government House, but it was repelled.
“They attempted to break into the Ikoyi Prison and it was repelled. The 81 Division had to support the Correctional Services and the police.
“They also burnt down the Igbosere High Court. The inmates had burnt part of the Ikoyi Prison, they all did this at the same time because they had gotten information about what was happening on the outside.
“They burnt Shoprite and Spar in Lekki was looted. What was shocking and saddening to me was that mothers were taking their children to loot.
“I received a distress phone call from the managing director of Spar pleading for the military’s assistance.
“The MD was pleading and saying that let them loot the place, but they should not burn it down.
“When we arrived, these looters had the temerity to come up to soldiers while holding looted goods and say come correct sir!
“A man we arrested had looted household items and when we went to his house to recover the items he had already installed them.”
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