Nigerian government rejects report on Lekki toll shooting as ‘fake news’

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.

Nigerian judicial panel condemns 2020 Lekki toll shooting as 'a massacre'

“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.

” slaughter.”

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.

Mohammed’s rejection of the report came a week after Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said his government would implement the panel’s recommendations. according to local media.
'He died in my arms.'  Twelve months later, a mother's anguished wait to find out why her son died at the Lekki tollbooth
TO statement Released by the Lagos government also quoted the panel’s chair, Judge Doris Okuwobi, who said that around 70 victims of police brutality received a total of 410 million naira (about $ 1 million) as compensation.
The panel report was Welcome by Amnesty International, which noted that “the panel’s findings reveal the truth about what happened at the Lekki tollbooth and contradict the Nigerian government’s blatant denial that lethal force was used against peaceful #EndSARS protesters.”
The United States Mission in Nigeria also welcome the conclusion of the panel sessions, indicating that it looks forward to the response from the Lagos government.
President Muhammadu Buhari had recently said Blinken, during an official visit to Abuja, said the Nigerian government will await pronouncements from panels set up by other states to investigate police brutality in the country before taking further action.

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