TECHNOCRAT MEDIA NIGERIA
Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s information minister had repeatedly said nobody was killed after soldiers invaded the Lekki tollgate in Lagos on October 20, 2020, during the #EndSARS protests.
In the past one year, the minister has consistently faulted the report that protesters were killed at the tollgate while attacking international organisations that reported the killings by the Nigerian Army.
On Monday, the report of the Lagos state judicial panel on police brutality — with an investigation on the Lekki massacre, said protesters were killed at the tollgate
The panel in a language described it as a “massacre”.
In November 2020, the minister attacked DJ Switch, a disc jockey, who participated in the protest and filmed live the army shooting #EndSARS protesters at Lekki tollgate, saying she will soon be “exposed for who she is”.
The minister 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 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,” the minister had said.
Again, in November 2020, the information minister as reported by TheCable, 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”.
Minister Lai, in the letter written to CNN, said the international platform left out a 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”.
Mr. Mohammed wrote, “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,”
In January, the information minister asked Amnesty International to show proof of the 12 people killed during the shooting at the Lekki tollgate or “shut up”.
Mr Mohammed said the human rights organisation was gradually losing credibility and asked the organisation to come out with evidence of the people killed by the military.
Again, in February 2021, the information minister said nobody has come forward to produce evidence of those killed at Lekki tollgate.
Minister Lai described the report of killings at the Lekki tollgate as “fake news and unverified social media reports”.
Last month, during the first anniversary of the Lekki tollgate shooting, the information minister, in a press briefing in Abuja, 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”.
He said, “Today marks the first anniversary of the phantom massacre at Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, which was the culmination of an otherwise peaceful protest that was later hijacked by hoodlums,”
“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?”
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