Segun Adeyemi, the spokesperson to Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has explained why his principal was yet to react to the report of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses.
Adeyemi, in a chat with Punch, said he is currently out of Nigeria on an official assignment and will soon react to the report.
He wrote, “We are out of the country (Nigeria) on assignment. Expect our response shortly.”
He, however, did not disclose the exact country he had travelled with his principal.
Though “out of the country”, Adeyemi issued a statement on Thursday hailing the United States for removing Nigeria from the list of religious violators.
The office of the minister has, however, kept mum three days after the panel’s report on the Lekki incident of October 20, 2020, leaked to the public.
Nigerians have called for the response of the Minister to the leaked report due to his insistence that there were no killings at the Lekki Tollgate on October 20, 2020.
SaharaReporters did a breakdown of the number of times the Minister denied the “massacre.”
On November 19 2020, the Minister said Obianuju Catherine Udeh, popularly known as DJ Switch, who did a live stream, on Instagram, the Lekki shootings of October 20 will soon be exposed for spreading falsehood.
He had also suggested that she might be acting out a script written by other people and vowed that she would be exposed in due course.
Mohammed, who described the event of October 20, 2020, as a “massacre without bodies”, insisted that contrary to DJ Switch’s claims, not a single body has been produced or a single-family has come out to claim their family member was killed at the Lekki tollgate.
He said at the time, “One of the purveyors of fake news was one DJ Switch whose real name is Obianuju Catherine Udeh, even though she claimed authentic evidence of mass killings. Surprisingly, instead of presenting whatever evidence she may have, she chose to escape from the country on the claim that her life was in danger. In danger for who?”
Secondly, in November 2020, a report by the Cable News Network (CNN) showed that the Nigerian Army truly fired live and blank bullets at protesters at the Lekki toll gate but Lai Mohammed, in a press conference in Abuja described the report as “irresponsible journalism.”
Mohammed claimed not a single body had been produced or a single family came out to claim their loved ones were killed at the Lekki Tollgate.
He called for a sanction for the foreign media organisation but did not disclose where the sanction should come from.
The CNN had released the second part of an investigation on the incident, which further implicates the Nigerian Army in the killing of peaceful protesters.
In response, the Nigerian Government described the report as fake news without providing evidence of its own claim.
Lai Mohammed had claimed the CNN was desperate and peddling fake news.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Judicial Panel on #EndSARS, in their report submitted to the Lagos state government on Monday was able to establish that there was truly a massacre at the Lekki tollgate.
The report clearly found the Nigerian Army and police fired live bullets at peaceful protesters at the Lekki Tollgate last year.
It also concluded that the “deliberate absence of officers of the Nigerian Army who were present at the Lekki Toll Gate and who were summoned by the Panel was a calculated attempt to conceal material evidence from the Panel.”