THE Country Director, Amnesty International, Nigeria, Osai Ojigho, says the body is not surprised by the Federal Government’s dismissal of the Lagos panel EndSARS report.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, at a press conference in Abuja, yesterday, described the leaked report as one laced with discrepancies and inconsistencies and was unverified fake news.
Mohammed, who insisted that nobody was killed at the Lekki toll plaza on October 20, 2020, said the panel only wasted taxpayers’ money by coming up with such a nonsensical report, which he likened to ‘Tales by moonlight’, a 1990s television programme where fictitious stories and tales were told to children
The minister said, “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.”
However, Ojigho said Mohammed’s assertion is not new as he has carried out “constant attacks” in the last year.
“I think the first thing is for us to establish the fact that there are different layers of government; so, what has been presented to the Lagos State Government, as we all know, is easy for the governments to communicate with themselves across board,” she said.
“I think the minister, with his position in government, should liaise with the state authorities to clarify or check information with regards to the panel’s work. That would have been an ideal step…and to allow the state government to carry out its task in this regard.
“It is not surprising for us at Amnesty International that the minister, Lai Mohammed, continues to deny that unfortunate incident that happened on October 20, 2020, at the Lekki tollgate because we have seen in the last one year the constant attacks, the constant narrative that is geared toward gas-lighting the victims, survivors and witnesses, and the create an impression that people are just up to no good.”
She argued that there was a need for investigation into the happenings that occurred, not just only at the Lekki tollgate, but throughout the #EndSARS protests.
She maintained that people died in protests across the country and wondered why it was difficult for the authorities to address petitions, rather than targeting the human rights defenders, victims and witnesses.