Information Minister Lai Mohammed said Tuesday that the panel’s report, which was leaked and widely shared on social media last week, “was nothing more than the triumph of fake news.”
At a press conference in the nation’s capital Abuja, Mohammed addressed the government’s persistent denial of the Lekki shooting, saying: “That report is nothing more than the triumph of fake news and the intimidation of a silent majority. by a vociferous mob of lynchmen. ”
The minister also criticized CNN for “holding” the report in a “rush to claim its vindication.”
However, a panel member According to Awosanya told CNN on Wednesday that the panel’s findings were based on objectivity and facts.
He added that the minister’s comment was inappropriate at a time when the country was still recovering from the Lekki incident.
“Whatever Alhaji Lai Mohammed said in his press conference … it is not the right way to approach this issue in a nation that wants healing, justice and wants to win the trust of the public,” Awosanya said. , adding that “the panel worked objectively and surgically … to ensure that the truth and facts can appear, and in that we gave our recommendations.”
In response to Mohammed’s claim that “the leaked report cannot be trusted because its authenticity is in doubt,” Awosanya told CNN that hard copies of the report had been sent to the Lagos government.
“The report is not a public document. A leak or no leak should not be the government’s problem … What matters to us is that we present hard copies to the government, and the government has promised to respond within two weeks through a white paper and make the same public. We write the report, we put it together and we have a consensus on it, “he said.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken called for action once the panel’s report has been officially released. “There may be reforms that are necessary” to ensure that a similar event is not repeated, he said.
“If there are people who, as is clear from this report, are responsible for committing abuses, there has to be responsibility in terms of those people,” he told CNN.
A Nigerian government account of the incident has long denied that protesters were shot at the toll gate, despite video evidence and multiple eyewitness accounts compiled by CNN.