The Federal Government has rejected the report of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution on Lekki Toll Gate Shooting which had indicted the Nigerian Police and the military.
It was recalled that the panel which was inaugurated to look into complaints of alleged human rights abuses by the police and Lekki toll gate shooting indicted the Nigerian Army in its report.
However, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, in a press conference in Abuja, dismissed the report saying it cannot change the government’s mind that there was a massacre, adding that the report is intimidation of a silent majority by a ‘vociferous lynch mob’.
The minister described the report by the Lagos judicial panel as ‘Tales by moonlight’ riddled with so many errors, inconsistencies, discrepancies, speculations, innuendos, omissions, and conclusions that are not supported by evidence
Part of the statement read: “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.
Despite the report, the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed on Tuesday, during a press conference, insisted that it was recycled fake news.
Lai Mohammed stated that for the Federal Government to change its stand on the report, there must be more investigations.
According to the Minister, the report which is currently in circulation was calculated to embarrass President Muhammadu Buhari’s government and its agencies “without foolproof evidence”.
He said, “there is absolutely nothing in the report that is circulating to make us change our stand that there was no massacre at Lekki on Oct. 20th, 2020. For us to change our stand, a well-investigated report of the incident that meets all required standards and will withstand every scrutiny must be produced and presented to the public.
“The report in circulation does not meet those requirements. We also appeal to the families of those allegedly killed in Lekki to speak out.
“It’s untenable to say that some families did not come out because they are afraid. Any parent who is afraid to testify about the death of his or her child is not worth being called a parent.
“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. Such allegations must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt”.
“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 anyperson or entity to seek to castigate the Federal Government and its agencies or officials based on such an unofficial and invalidated report,” he said.