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FG rejects Lagos judicial panel leaked reports on EndSARS, Lekki shooting

By Idowu Abdullahi

The Federal Government has rejected the leaked report of Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry that investigated cases of police brutality by the disbanded unit of the force, Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), insisting that no protesters were killed during the demonstration on October 20, 2020 at the Lekki Toll gate in Lagos.

According to the government, for us to change our stand, a well-investigated report of the incident that meets all required standards and will withstand every scrutiny must be produced and presented to the public.

As stated, there was more discrepancy from the report such that was glaring to careful observers and not social media mobs who were waiting for every opportunity to attack the apex government over the alleged killings without concrete proof.

“Without mincing words, let me say that never in the history of any Judicial Panel in this country has its report been riddled with so many errors, inconsistencies, discrepancies, speculations, innuendoes, omissions and conclusions that are not supported by evidence. What is circulating in public space is simply a rehash of the unverified fake news that has been playing on social media since the incident of Oct. 20th 2020.

“It is simply incredible that a Judicial Panel set up to investigate an incident has submitted a report laden with allegations, the same allegations it was set up to investigate in the first instance. Instead of sitting for all of one year, the panel could have just compiled social media ‘tales by the moonlight’ on the incident and submitted, saving taxpayers’ funds and everyone’s time.

“That report is nothing but the triumph of fake news and the intimidation of a silent majority by a vociferous lynch mob,” the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said while briefing journalists in Abuja on Tuesday.

The minister noted that there was absolutely nothing in the report that was circulating to make the government change its stand that there was no massacre at Lekki on Oct. 20th 2020, adding that those who have engaged in premature celebration of the report should go back and read it thoroughly and tell Nigerians whether it can pass any serious scrutiny.

“The report in circulation is calculated to embarrass the Federal Government and its agencies without foolproof evidence. The Federal Government has never condoned the abuse of the rights of Nigerians by security agencies under any guise, hence it disbanded SARS and encouraged states to set up the panels to investigate reports of human rights abuses allegedly committed by the disbanded SARS personnel,” he added.

Continuing, he said, “Without mincing words, let me say that never in the history of any Judicial Panel in this country has its report been riddled with so many errors, inconsistencies, discrepancies, speculations, innuendoes, omissions and conclusions that are not supported by evidence. What is circulating in public space is simply a rehash of the unverified fake news that has been playing on social media since the incident of Oct. 20th 2020.

“It is simply incredible that a Judicial Panel set up to investigate an incident has submitted a report laden with allegations, the same allegations it was set up to investigate in the first instance. Instead of sitting for all of one year, the panel could have just compiled social media ‘tales by the moonlight’ on the incident and submitted, saving taxpayers’ funds and everyone’s time. That report is nothing but the triumph of fake news and the intimidation of a silent majority by a vociferous lynch mob.

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

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