The Federal Government on Tuesday literarily rubbished the report of the panel set up by the Lagos State government to probe the #EndSARS protests and consequent events that followed at the Lekki Tollgate on October 20, 2020.
Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture at a media briefing insisted that the the reported killings at Lekki Tollgate was a phantom massacre.
The minister went on to highlight portions of the report which he said were inconsistent and a folly on the part of the panel.
The Minister during the briefing issued a detailed rejoinder to the #EndSARS report published by the Lagos State judicial panel, saying the report “cannot be relied on in court and will be thrown out due to these discrepancies.”
In a reiteration of his earlier stances, the Minister explained that “there is nothing in the report to make us change our stance that there was no massacre at Lekki on Oct 20.
“For us to change our stance, it means all investigations must be presented to the court and must stand to scrutiny.”
The Minister further mocked the parents and families of victims who refused to testify due to witch-hunt and victimisation.
“We urge all victims to speak out and it is untenable to say families are scared; will the same families want to collect compensation when they refuse to testify?
“Any parent who refuses to testify the death of their kids is not worth to be called a parent.”
According to him, the report was published in order to embarrass the Federal Government despite its stance against the abuse of citizens as evidenced by the disbandment of the infamous SARS division of the Nigerian Police Force.
“We reject the notion that the Nigerian Army massacred innocent protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate.
“The report was circulated to embarrass the FG; the FG will never condone an abuse on the rights of Nigerians. This is why the FG disbanded SARS and called for investigations across all the states.”
He further highlighted some discrepancies contained in the report.
“The report said the military fired at protesters which was clearly not the case.
“The panel said only one of the post-mortem had gunshot wounds only to contradict itself that nine persons died with gunshot injuries.
“One of the persons who allegedly was shot did not testify at the panel.
“Where are the family members of those who are reportedly killed? If the panel is recommending compensation; who are the families?
“How can a judicial panel convince anyone that the casualties listed are not fictitious names? No surnames, yet confirmed dead.
“Why is the panel fixated on this phantom massacre?
“The panel never mentioned the policemen murdered? Does this mean the panel does not consider them as humans?
“The panel did not make any recommendations on innocent businesses destroyed but it was too busy looking for evidence to support its claim of the massacre.
“Therefore, this panel report cannot be relied on in court and will be thrown out due to these discrepancies.
“It is too premature for anyone to castigate the FG based on this unofficial report.”
Mohammed also slammed CNN for celebrating the publication of the report prematurely while decrying the lowering in journalistic standards.
“The CNN has celebrated this report when it needs to read and analyse this report. They have celebrated prematurely. This is a double faux pas since they are willing to compromise on journalistic standards.
“Unfortunately, sections of the Nigerian media have joined in this calumny against the FG.”
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