EndSARS Anniversary: Military did not shoot Protesters at Lekki Toll Gate – Minister

EndSARS Anniversary: Military did not shoot Protesters at Lekki Toll Gate – Minister

The Nigerian government has restated that the Military did not shoot EndSars protesters on 20th October last year at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos State.

At a Press briefing on Wednesday in Abuja, the country’s Information And Culture Minister, Lai Mohammed described the allegation of shooting by the Military during police brutality protest in Lagos as a phantom massacre that never happened.

Mohammed also condemned the Cable News Network, CNN for not appearing at the Judicial Panel of Enquiry to prove its allegation of a massacre at the Lekki Tollgate.

“One year later, and despite ample opportunities for the families of those allegedly killed and those alleging a massacre to present evidence, there has been none: No bodies, no families, no convincing evidence, nothing.

Where are the families of those who were reportedly killed at the toll gate? Did they show up at the Judicial Panel of Inquiry? If not, why?.


The Minister said sadly, the champions of a massacre at the Lekki Toll Gate, including Amnesty International and CNN, have continued to hold on to their unproven stand.

He revealed that Amnesty International finally settled that about 12 people were killed.

On its part, CNN went from 38 people killed to two to just one, after a supposed global exclusive even when the network had no reporter on ground at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20th 2020.

“During the sitting of the Judicial Panel of Enquiry, CNN was summoned but it never showed up, thus missing a great opportunity to prove its allegation of a massacre at the toll gate.

Also, Amnesty International had a golden opportunity to convince the world, but it rather opted for issuing meaningless press releases.

“In its latest attempt to grasp at straws and redeem whatever is left of its battered credibility on this issue, CNN has continued with its baseless report that soldiers shot at protesters.

“In a report currently running on the network, CNN brazenly and unashamedly held on to its flawed narrative, relying on an unidentified mother whose son was reportedly shot dead at Lekki, but without convincing evidence of who shot him dead.

The same CNN that tweeted on Oct.

23rd 2020 that 38 people were shot dead at Lekki is now struggling to convince the world that one boy was killed at Lekki.


The government still maintained that the testimony of ballistic experts before the Judicial Panel of Inquiry in Lagos contradicts the position by Amnesty International, CNN, and others.

The experts, in their testimony, said, ”The Team finds that from the medical data examined, including the timeline of arrival at medical facility and the nature of the injuries sustained by the victims, who were taken to the 5 medical facilities, that no military grade live ammunition (high-velocity) was fired at the protesters (emphasis mine) at Lekki Tollgate on 20th October 2020, within the timeframe of reference (18.

30-20.

34hrs).

That the GSW (Gun Shot Wounds) injuries (4 in number between 19:05 and 19:45 hrs), which were examined by the Team, can be safely identified as being discharged by either low velocity caliber and/or artisanal/12-gauge firearms (artisanal firearms are locally-fabricated weapons).


Further investigations disclosed that the ballistic experts were not alone in reaching that conclusion.

In its 2020 Country Report on Human Rights Practices, the U.

S.

State Department wrote; “On Oct.

20th (2020), members of the security forces enforced curfew by firing shots into the air to disperse protesters, who had gathered at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos to protest abusive practices by the Nigeria Police Force Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).


Government’s Position
The Nigerian authorities still maintained same position that the military did not shoot at protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate on Oct.

20th 2020, and there was no massacre at the toll gate.

The only ‘massacre’ recorded was in the social media, hence there were neither bodies nor blood.

The government also said that Amnesty International, CNN, a certain DJ and others like them should apologize for misleading the world that there was a massacre at the Lekki Toll Gate and for portraying the Nigerian military, police and other security agencies in bad light.

In his prepared text, the country’s Minister of Information and Culture said CNN acted unprofessionally by relying on unverified, and possibly-doctored social media videos, as well as other open-source information, to conclude that a massacre took place at the toll gate.

Furthermore, the Federal Government remains proud of the security agencies for acting professionally and showing utmost restraint all through the EndSARS protest and the ensuing violence, an action that saved lives and properties.

Finally, the Minister revealed that the six soldiers and 37 policemen who died during the EndSARS protests are human beings with families, even though the Human Rights Organizations and CNN simply ignored their deaths, choosing instead to trumpet a phantom massacre.

Other Issues Related To EndSARS
The National Economic Council (NEC), in Nigeria which comprises all State Governors and representatives of the Federal Government, and chaired by the Vice President, has already addressed other issues relating to the EndSARS protest.

At its meeting on 15 October 2021, the NEC received an update on the Reports of Judicial Panels of Inquiry into Allegations of Human Rights Violations against Members of Nigeria Police Force and other Security Agencies.

Mohammed said that 28 States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) – under the auspices of the National Human Rights Commission – had set up Judicial Panels/Commissions of Inquiry to investigate allegations of violations of human rights levied against members of the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies, especially members of the disbanded SARS.

“Out of the 28 States, 11 States (Abia, Ekiti, Enugu, Gombe, Kwara, Nasarawa, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Plateau, and Rivers) have submitted their final reports to Council.

Governors of other states have also indicated that their reports would be submitted soon.


Following deliberations on the recommendations of the panels, NEC agreed that there would be payment of compensation to victims, prosecution of indicted persons (security personnel and civilians) and improved efficiency of Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies’ architecture among others.

PIAK
EndSARS Anniversary: Military did not shoot Protesters at Lekki Toll Gate – Minister

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