Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has finally the report by the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on the shooting incident that occurred last year during the #EndSARS protest at the Lekki Toll Gate.
KanyiDaily had reported how soldiers opened fire on #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki toll gate, on Tuesday night, October 21, 2020, killing an unconfirmed number of persons and injuring so many others.
Despite extensive and credible media coverage of the incident, Lai Mohammed had continually denied the killings which he claimed were false and misleading. He also described the shooting at the tollgate as a “phantom massacre”.
However, according to the 309-page report submitted by the Lagos Judicial Panel on Monday, November 15, 2021, nine protesters were confirmed dead while four others were presumed dead.
The report listed 48 names as those who were casualties of the Lekki shooting incident. Among which, 24 sustained gunshot injuries, while 15 others were assaulted by soldiers and police.
The panel which was headed by Justice Doris Okuwobi, also noted that 96 other corpses were presented by a Forensic Pathologist of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Professor John Obafunwa.
The report indicted the Nigerian Police and Army for killing “unarmed helpless and defenseless protesters, without provocation or justification, while they were waving the Nigerian Flag and singing the National Anthem” at the Lekki Toll Gate.
Lai Mohammed Reacts To Lagos EndSARS Report
During a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday, November 23, Lai Mohammed dismissed the report which he described as fake news, saying that the Lagos Judicial panel shockingly compiled and submitted allegations made by Nigerians on social media.
The Minister also described the allegations as “tales by moonlight” riddled with so many errors, inconsistencies, discrepancies, speculations, innuendos, omissions, and conclusions that are not supported by evidence.
He said, “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.”
Lai Mohammed noted that the report of the panel in circulation cannot be relied upon because its authenticity is in doubt, adding that the Lagos State Government, being the convening authority, is yet to release any official report to the public.
He said, “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.”
KanyiDaily recalls that the Nigerian Army had also warned Nigerians to stop making disparaging remarks against the military following the Lagos EndSARS report.