After soldiers invaded the Lekki tollgate in Lagos on October 20, 2020, during the #EndSARS protests and shot at protesters, Lai Mohammed, minister of information, said nobody was killed at the tollgate.
In the past one year, Mohammed has consistently disputed the report that protesters died at the tollgate, while attacking international organisations that reported the killings by the Nigerian Army.
On Monday a report of the Lagos state judicial panel on police brutality — including investigation on the Lekki massacre — seen by TheCable, said protesters were killed at the tollgate in what the panel described as a “massacre”.
TheCable highlights some of the instances Mohammed said no protester was killed at the Lekki tollgate.
LAI ATTACKS DJ SWITCH, SAYS SHE IS A FRAUD OVER LEKKI MASSACRE
In November 2020, the minister attacked DJ Switch, a disc jockey, who filmed the army shooting #EndSARS protesters at Lekki tollgate, saying she will soon be “exposed for who she is”.
Lai, who described the disc jockey as a “purveyor of fake news,” questioned her motive for saying protesters were killed by the army, which he said was “suspicious”.
“One of the purveyors of fake news was one DJ Switch which 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,” the minister had said.
LAI WRITES CNN, SAYS REPORT ON LEKKI CAPABLE OF SETTING NIGERIA ON FIRE
Again, in November 2020, the information minister said the report of CNN on the Lekki shooting “did not just fall short of journalistic standards but reinforces the disinformation that is going around on the issue”.
The minister, in the letter written to CNN, said the international platform left out video which could have shown that “armed hoodlums invaded the Lekki Toll Gate that night, and could have hit any of the protesters as they shot sporadically”.
“This is clearly a ploy by the CNN reporter/presenter to manipulate viewers of its ‘investigative’ report and force them to draw the reporter’s desired conclusion,” the minister wrote.
‘COME OUT WITH YOUR PROOF OR SHUT UP’ — LAI HITS AMNESTY OVER LEKKI SHOOTING
In January, the information minister asked Amnesty International (AI) to show proof of the 12 people killed during the shooting at the Lekki tollgate or “shut up”.
Mohammed said the human rights organisation was gradually losing credibility, and asked AI to come out with evidence of the people killed by the military.
‘NOBODY HAS COME FORWARD TO PRODUCE EVIDENCE OF PEOPLE KILLED AT LEKKI‘
Again, in February, the information minister said nobody has come forward to produce evidence of those killed at Lekki tollgate.
Mohammed described the report of killings at the Lekki tollgate as “fake news and unverified social media reports”.
‘NO PROOF ANY PROTESTER WAS KILLED AT LEKKI TOLLGATE’
During the first anniversary of the Lekki tollgate shooting in October, the information minister, in a press briefing, said there is no proof that any protester was killed at the Lekki tollgate, last year.
The minister described the incident at the tollgate as a “phantom massacre”, saying it is the “first massacre in the world without blood or bodies”.
“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,” the minister had said.
“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?”
Source: The Cable