By Emmanuel Nduka
Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has dismissed the report of the Lagos EndSARS Judicial Panel, insisting that it is fake and “tales by moonlight”.
The Minister who gave the Federal Government’s reaction at a World Press Conference in Abuja on Tuesday, said the report is not reliable and should be ignored.
He said it was shocking that the same allegations made by Nigerians were merely compiled and submitted as a report by the Panel set up to investigate the claims of police brutality, adding that it represents an intimidation of the majority by a minority.
“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.
“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, innuendos, 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.
“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,” he said.
Mr Mohammed held that the Lagos State Government, being the convening authority, is yet to release any official report to the public, adding that the report is calculated to embarrass the Federal Government and its agencies without evidence.
“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 invalidated report.
“We reject the notion that our soldiers and policemen massacred innocent Nigerians at Lekki on Oct. 20th 2020. That conclusion is not supported by the weight of available evidence. Indictment for murder is a very serious issue that cannot be done on the basis of allegations and corroborations, as the panel did,” he added.
The Lagos Judicial Panel had released a damning report on the Lekki Tollgate shooting, indicting the army and the police of killing unarmed protesters.
The Panel which likened the shooting to a massacre, also indicted the army and police, accusing them of killing about 11 protesters and injuring several others.