The Federal Government rejected the report of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry into the state’s #EndSARS protest yesterday.
It claimed that the report, which it compared to fake news, was riddled with errors, inconsistencies, and discrepancies.
The report, according to the government, was “social media tales by the moonlight” and a waste of tax payers’ money.
At a press conference in Abuja, Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed stated the government’s position.
Many Nigerians, however, believed that the minister should have waited for the white paper before rejecting it.
The Lagos State Panel of Inquiry on Restitution of Victims of SARS Related Abuses and Other Related Matters recently submitted two documents to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu: a consolidated report on cases of police brutality and another on the Lekki shooting investigation.
As a result, the governor formed a four-member committee to examine the documents within two weeks and “bring forward the White Paper” for consideration by the state executive council.
A version of the 309-page document appeared on social media a few hours later.
The panel stated in that version that “the killing of unarmed protesters by soldiers on October 20, 2020 could be described as a’massacre.'”
Mohammed insisted that there was no massacre at the protest site, the Lekki Toll Gate.
According to him, the government discovered ten flaws in the contentious report.
One of these gaps, he claims, is the panel’s silence on the killing of police officers and the destruction of police stations during the protest.
According to the minister, 37 police officers and six soldiers were killed across the country during the protest.
Mohammed asked those who were ecstatic about the report to reconsider it and see if there was any justification for it.
“It is no longer news that the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry, which investigated cases of police brutality as well as the incident on October 20th, 2020, at Lekki Tollgate in Lagos, has submitted its report,” he said. We took our time reading and digesting the report, unlike many commentators and analysts, and we are now well-positioned to respond.
“Without equivocation, let me state unequivocally that no judicial panel in this country’s history has produced a report riddled with so many errors, inconsistencies, discrepancies, speculations, innuendoes, omissions, and conclusions that are not supported by evidence.”
“What is circulating in public is simply a rehash of the unverified fake news that has been circulating on social media since the October 20th, 2020 incident.”
“It is simply unbelievable that a judicial panel formed to investigate an incident has submitted a report replete with allegations, the same allegations that the panel was formed to investigate in the first place.”
“Rather than sitting for an entire year, the panel could have simply compiled social media ‘tales by the moonlight’ on the incident and submitted them, saving taxpayers’ money and everyone’s time.”
“That report is nothing more than the triumph of fake news and a vociferous lynch mob’s intimidation of a silent majority.”
“We have read some brave few’s critical analysis of the report. According to one commentator, a lawyer, it raised more questions than it answered. Another commentator, a journalist, called it a “disgraceful report by a disgraceful panel,” claiming that it simply reported allegations rather than investigating them. Another questioned how a judicial panel could use the phrase “massacre in context” and equate it with a massacre.
“All of these, and many others, have raised valid concerns about that report.” We applaud their bravery and refusal to be intimidated by the rampaging lynch mob that has screamed blue murder since the report was released.”
*That the panel threw away the testimony of ballistic experts; *That the panel that said it deemed as credible the evidence of the Forensic Pathologist, Prof. John Obafunwa, that only three of the bodies on which post-mortems were conducted were from Lekki and only one had gunshot injury went on to contradict itself by saying nine people died of gunshot wounds at Lekki;