The Federal Government has rejected the report by the Lagos State judicial panel on the shooting at the Lekki toll gate.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed in a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday, rejected the report stating it cannot change the government’s mind that there was a massacre.
Recall that a panel was inaugurated to address the complaints of alleged human rights abuses by the police and the Nigerian Army during the EndSARS protest at the Lekki Tollgate.
READ ALSO: Jonathan Extols Virtue of Late Bayelsa Monarch
The panel led by Justice Doris Okuwobi in the report submitted to Lagos state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu had disclosed that at least 48 protesters were either shot dead, injured with bullet wounds, or assaulted by soldiers who were at the Lekki toll gate on October 20, 2020.
Minister Mohammed, who led the government’s campaign to deny the events, claims the report cannot be relied upon because its authenticity is in doubt. He described the report by the Lagos judicial panel as ‘Tales by moonlight.
“There’s absolutely nothing in the report that is circulating to make us change our minds that there was a massacre in Lekki on October 20, 2020,” he said.
You might not be the first to do it. But reinventing the wheel so damn well that you become the template. You’re welcome.”
Without mincing words, let me say that never in the history of any Judicial Panel in this country has its report been riddled with so many errors, inconsistencies, discrepancies, speculations, innuendoes, omissions, and conclusions that are not supported by evidence. What is circulating in public space is simply a rehash of the unverified fake news that has been playing on social media since the incident of October 20, 2020.
“It is simply incredible that a Judicial Panel set up to investigate an incident has submitted a report laden with allegations, the same allegations it was set up to investigate in the first instance. Instead of sitting for all of one year, the panel could have just compiled social media ‘tales by the moonlight’ on the incident and submitted, saving taxpayers’ funds and everyone’s time. That report is nothing but the triumph of fake news and the intimidation of a silent majority by a vociferous lynch mob”.
The minister also remarked that the Lagos State Government, being the convening authority, has yet to release any official report to the public.
“Neither has the panel done so. The cowardly leakage of an unsigned report to the public is not enough. Assuming the report in circulation bears any iota of genuineness, it is basic knowledge that the report of such a panel is of no force until the convening authority issues a White Paper and Gazette on it”.
“It is therefore too premature for any person or entity to seek to castigate the Federal Government and its agencies or officials based on such an unofficial and unvalidated report,” he added.
He pointed out what he believed to be errors made by the government-appointed panel.
“We do not intend to bore you by rehashing details of the discrepancies, innuendoes, inconsistencies, and errors in that report. They are already in the public space. Let us, however, point out some key highlights of such discrepancies, errors, omissions, etc”. The minister stated.