The Federal Government has insisted that the report of the panel on #EndSARS protest in Lagos does not justify any massacre at the Lekki Toll Gate.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alh. Lai Mohammed made the government’s position at a briefing in Abuja.
He faulted the alleged notion that soldiers and the police massacred innocent Nigerians during the protest.
The Minister also berated the Cable News Network (CNN) for celebrating the report.
He said: “It’s no longer news that the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry that investigated cases of police brutality as well as the incident of Oct. 20th, 2020, at Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos has submitted its report.
”The submission happened while I was out of the country on national assignment.
”Unlike many commentators and analysts, we took our time to read and digest the report, and we are now well placed to respond.
”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 Oct.20th 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.
”Gentlemen, we have read some critical analysis of the report by a courageous few. One commentator, a lawyer, said it raised more questions than answers.
”Another commentator, a journalist, called it a ‘disgraceful report by a disgraceful panel’, saying it reported allegations instead of investigating the allegations.
”Yet another wondered how a Judicial Panel could use the words ‘massacre in context’ and equate such to a massacre.
”All these and many more have raised valid questions on that report. We salute their courage and refusal to be cowed by the rampaging lynch mob that has been screaming blue murder since the report was released.
“We do not intend to bore you by rehashing details of the discrepancies, innuendoes, inconsistencies and errors in that report. They are already in the public space.”
The Minister, also said that CNN and the other media houses were in a rush to claim vindication and apparently did not even read the report.
“By that action, CNN has celebrated prematurely and has now committed a double faux pas: First, by relying on unverified social media stories and videos to carry out an investigation of the Oct. 20th, 2020 incident at Lekki, where it did not have a correspondent on ground, CNN goofed.
“In its report on the findings of the panel, which fell below the main standards of journalism. Secondly, CNN rushed to the air to celebrate an unsigned and unverified report that is riddled with inconsistencies, errors, discrepancies, innuendoes,” he said.
“That’s double faux pas by a news organization that is eager and willing to compromise standards just to claim vindication.”