Tuesday, November 23, 2021

‘Even goats have owners, where are families of deceased?’, Lai mocks Lagos panel report on Lekki massacre

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Ibrahim Ramalan
Ibrahim Ramalan is a graduate of Mass Communications from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria. With nearly a decade-long, active journalism practice, Mr Ramalan has been able to rise from a cub reporter to the exalted position of an editor; first as Arts Editor with the Blueprint Newspapers before resigning in 2019; second and presently as an Associate Editor of the Daily Nigerian online newspaper. He can be reached via [email protected], or www.facebook.com/ibrahim.ramalana, or @McRamalan on Twitter.
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The minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohamed, on Tuesday, dismissed the report submitted by the Lagos State #EndSARS panel on the alleged massacre at Lekki Toll Gate, describing it a tale by moonlight.

The nine-member panel had in its report alleged that at least nine persons were killed at the Lekki toll plaza when soldiers and policemen stormed the scene to disperse protesters on October 20, 2020.

But while addressing newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja, Mr Mohammed said the report did not follow the evidence at hand.

According to him, it was shocking that the same allegations made by Nigerians were merely compiled and submitted as a report by the panel set up to investigate the claims of police brutality.

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He said: “The panel was silent on the family members of those reportedly killed, merely insinuating they were afraid to testify. Even goats have owners who will look for them if they do not return home, not to talk of human beings.

“Where are the family members of those who were reportedly killed at Lekki Toll Gate? If the panel is recommending compensation for the families, what are their identities and addresses? Who will receive the compensations when no family members have shown up to date?”

The minister, therefore, concluded that the report could not be relied upon, because “its authenticity is in doubt”.

“It is clear, from the ongoing, that the report of the panel in circulation cannot be relied upon because its authenticity is in doubt.

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“Besides, the Lagos State Government, being the convening authority, has yet to release any official report to the public.
“Neither has the panel done so.

“The cowardly leakage of an unsigned report to the public is not enough. Assuming the report in circulation bears any iota of genuineness, it is basic knowledge that the report of such a panel is of no force until the convening authority issues a White Paper and Gazette on it.

“It is therefore too premature for any person or entity to seek to castigate the Federal Government and its agencies or officials based on such an unofficial and invalidated report.”

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