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'The governor called us': Nigeria army tells inquiry it was asked to break up protest

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AFP

Nigeria

A senior officer in the Nigerian army has told a judicial panel investigating the deadly shooting against protestors in October that soldiers intervened following an appeal by Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos state.

But Brigadier General Ahmed Taiwo denied accusations that security forces fired at protestors who had gathered at the Lekki toll gate.

"I spoke with the governor and said the army was unhappy that he (the Governor) said he did not ask the army to intervene but I am sure, after we have watched everything, we saw he had more than reasonable grounds to ask the army to intervene, perhaps it was the way everything went that made him say so", Taiwo told the investigating panel.

Taiwo's testimony could help unravel the events that preceded the deadly violence, with officials not keen to accept responsibility.

Several officials have denied giving security forces orders to use force.

"We saw he (Governor) had more than reasonable grounds to ask the army to intervene, perhaps it was the way everything went that made him say so," Taiwo added.

Nearly 70 people were killed in the violence as Nigeria moved to end weeks of protests against police brutality.

Rights groups have urged president Muhamadu Buhari to ensure that victims get get justice.

Nigeria says the rallies had been infiltrated by looters and criminal gangs.

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