Abiodun OBA

 

The federal government has reiterated 

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has reiterated that the military did not shoot at protesters and there was no massacre at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020.

At a media briefing on the first anniversary of the ‘phantom massacre’ on Wednesday in Abuja, Mohammed emphasized that the only ‘massacre’ recorded was on social media, hence there were neither bodies nor blood.

“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.

“At earlier press conferences, I had called the reported massacre at the toll gate 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. 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?

“The champions of a massacre at the Lekki Toll Gate, including Amnesty International and CNN, have continued to shamelessly hold on to their unproven stand,” he said.

The minister said till date, Amnesty International and CNN have not been able to prove the allegation of a massacre at the toll gate during the protest.

He said the testimony of ballistic experts before the Judicial Panel of Inquiry in Lagos contradicted the ‘tales by the moonlight’ by Amnesty International, CNN and DJ Switch and their ilk.

In carrying out its duties, the minister said the ballistic team examined medical data, the timeline of arrival at the medical facility and the nature of the injuries sustained by the victims, who were taken to the five medical facilities.

He said the ballistic experts found out that no military grade live ammunition (high-velocity) was fired at the protesters at the toll gate within the timeframe of 6.30 p.m. and 8.31 p.m. the incidence allegedly took place.

“That the GSW (Gun Shot Wounds) injuries (4 in number between 19:05 and 19:45 hrs), which were examined by the team, can be safely identified as being discharged by either low-velocity calibre and/or artisanal/12-gauge firearms (artisanal firearms are locally-fabricated weapons).

“What is however certain is that had the military personnel deliberately fired military-grade live ammunition directly at the protesters; there would have been significantly more fatalities and catastrophic injuries recorded,” he said.

Mohammed said the 2020 Country Report on Human Rights Practices by the U.S. State Department also corroborated the conclusion by the ballistic experts that the military did not shoot at the protesters.

“On October 20th (2020), members of the security forces enforced curfew by FIRING SHOTS INTO THE AIR (emphasis mine) to disperse protesters, who had gathered at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos to protest abusive practices by the Nigeria Police Force Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

“Accurate information on fatalities resulting from the shooting was not available at year’s end.

“Amnesty International reported 10 persons died during the event, but the government disputed Amnesty’s Report,” he quoted the report.

The minister reiterated that the military did not shoot at protesters and there was no massacre at the toll gate on October 20, 2020.

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