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Read full text of Lai Mohammed’s press conference condemning the Lagos #EndSARS panel report

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The Minister of Data and Tradition, Lai Mohammed, earlier immediately held a press convention by which he condemned the report by the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry, describing it as ”faux”.

Recall that final Monday, the report was introduced to the state governor and it indicted the Nigerian Military and Police. The report additionally accused safety brokers of finishing up a ”bloodbath” throughout the October 20, Lekki tollgate incident.

On the press convention immediately, Mr. Mohammed mentioned the report was riddled with so many errors and inconsistencies. He rejected the notion that troopers and policemen massacred harmless Nigerians on the Lekki Tollgate. He additionally requested kin of the victims to return ahead with proof, saying that “any guardian who’s afraid to testify concerning the loss of life of his or her little one just isn’t worthy to be referred to as a guardian”.

Good morning gents,

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2. It’s now not information that the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry that investigated circumstances of police brutality in addition to the incident of Oct. twentieth, 2020, at Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos has submitted its report. The submission occurred whereas I used to be in another country on nationwide project. Not like many commentators and analysts, we took our time to learn and digest the report, and we at the moment are nicely positioned to reply.

3. With out mincing phrases, let me say that by no means within the historical past of any Judicial Panel on this nation has its report been riddled with so many errors, inconsistencies, discrepancies, speculations, innuendoes, omissions and conclusions that aren’t supported by proof. What’s circulating in public area is just a rehash of the unverified faux information that has been enjoying on social media because the incident of Oct.
twentieth 2020. It’s merely unimaginable {that a} Judicial Panel set as much as examine an incident has submitted a report laden with allegations, the identical allegations it was set as much as examine within the first occasion. As an alternative of sitting for all of 1 yr, the panel may have simply compiled social media ‘tales by the moonlight’ on the incident and submitted, saving taxpayers’ funds and everybody’s time. That report is nothing however the triumph of faux information and the intimidation of a silent majority by a vociferous lynch mob.

4. Gents, we have now learn some essential evaluation of the report by a brave few. One commentator, a lawyer, mentioned it raised extra questions than solutions. One other commentator, a journalist, referred to as it a ‘disgraceful report by a disgraceful panel’, saying it reported allegations as an alternative of investigating the allegations. One more puzzled how a Judicial Panel may use the phrases ‘bloodbath in context’ and equate such to a bloodbath. All these and lots of extra have raised legitimate questions on that report. We salute their braveness and refusal to be cowed by the rampaging lynch mob that has been screaming blue homicide because the report was launched.

5. We don’t intend to bore you by rehashing particulars of the discrepancies, innuendoes, inconsistencies and errors in that report. They’re already within the public area. Allow us to, nevertheless, level out some key highlights of such discrepancies, errors, omissions, and so on.

i) – The report threw away the testimony of ballistic consultants who testified earlier than it. The consultants mentioned, inter alia, of their testimony:

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”The Group finds that from the medical knowledge examined, together with the
timeline of arrival at medical facility and the character of the accidents
sustained by the Victims, who had been taken to the 5 medical services,
that no navy grade stay ammunition (high-velocity) was fired at
the protesters at Lekki Tollgate on twentieth October 2020, inside the
timeframe of reference (18.30- 20.34hrs). That the GSW (Gun Shot
Wounds) accidents (4 in quantity between 19:05 and 19:45 hrs), which had been
examined by the Group, could be safely recognized as being discharged by
both low velocity caliber and/or artisanal/12-gauge firearms
(artisanal firearms are locally-fabricated weapons). What’s nevertheless
sure is that had the navy personnel intentionally fired navy
grade stay ammunition straight on the protesters; there would have
been considerably extra fatalities and catastrophic accidents
recorded. This was clearly not the case.’’

ii) – The identical panel that mentioned it deemed as credible the proof of the Forensic Pathologist, Prof. John Obafunwa, that solely three of the our bodies on which publish mortem had been carried out had been from Lekki and just one had gunshot damage went on to contradict itself by saying 9 individuals died of gunshot wounds at Lekki!

iii) – The person whose proof (that he counted 11 our bodies in a navy van the place he was left for lifeless earlier than he escaped) was discovered to be essential by the panel by no means testified in particular person. Slightly, the video of his ‘testimony’ was performed by another person. It didn’t happen to the panel to question the veracity of the testimony of a person who mentioned he was shot and presumed lifeless however nonetheless had time to rely lifeless our bodies inside a supposedly darkish van at night time!

iv) – The panel mentioned vans with brushes beneath had been dropped at the Lekki Toll Gate within the morning of Oct. 21 2020 to scrub up bloodstains and different proof, however nonetheless discovered bullet casings on the identical web site when it visited on Oct. thirtieth 2020. It mentioned troopers picked up bullet casings from Lekki Toll Gate on the night time of Oct. twentieth 2020, but claimed that policemen got here to the identical spot to choose the identical bullet casings on Oct. twenty first 2020!

v) – The panel was silent on the members of the family of these reportedly killed, merely insinuating they had been afraid to testify. Even goats have homeowners who will search for them if they don’t return house, to not discuss of human beings. The place are the members of the family of those that had been reportedly killed at Lekki Toll Gate? If the panel is recommending compensation for the households, what are their identities and addresses? Who will obtain the compensations when no members of the family have proven updated?

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vi) – How did a person who reported seeing the lifeless physique of his brother himself ended up being on the listing of the panel’s deceased individuals?

vii) – How can a Judicial Panel persuade anybody that the names of some casualties of the Lekki Toll Gate incident listed as numbers 3 (Jide), 42 (Tola) and 43 (Knowledge) usually are not fictitious names.

viii) – Why did the Judicial Panel really feel compelled to concoct a ”bloodbath in context” as a euphemism for ”bloodbath”? A bloodbath is a bloodbath. What’s ”bloodbath in context?”

ix) – The report by no means talked about circumstances of police personnel who had been brutally murdered or the large destruction of police stations, autos, e.t c throughout the Endsars protest. Does this imply that the panel didn’t contemplate policemen and girls as human beings?

x) – The report didn’t make any advice on the harmless individuals whose companies had been attacked and destroyed throughout the protest in Lagos. I believe it was too busy in search of proof to help its conclusion of ‘bloodbath in context’.

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6. It’s clear, from the continued, that the report of the panel in circulation can’t be relied upon as a result of its authenticity is unsure. Apart from, the Lagos State Authorities, being the convening authority, has but to launch any official report back to the general public.

Neither has the panel finished so. The cowardly leakage of an unsigned report back to the general public just isn’t sufficient. Assuming the report in circulation bears any iota of genuineness, it’s fundamental data that the report of such a panel is of no pressure till the convening authority points a White Paper and Gazette on it. It’s subsequently too untimely for any particular person or entity to hunt to castigate the Federal Authorities and its companies or officers based mostly on such an unofficial and unvalidated report.

7. CNN AND OTHERS

The CNN has been celebrating the leaked report of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry. In its rush to say vindication, CNN apparently didn’t even learn the report earlier than rolling out the drums in celebration. By that motion, CNN has celebrated prematurely and has now dedicated a double fake pas: First, by counting on unverified social media tales and movies to hold out an investigation of the Oct. twentieth 2020 incident at Lekki, the place it didn’t have a correspondent on floor.

CNN goofed in its report on the findings of the panel, which fell under the primary requirements of journalism. Secondly, CNN rushed to the air to rejoice an unsigned and unverified report that’s riddled with inconsistencies, errors, discrepancies, innuendoes. That’s double fake pas by a information group that’s keen and prepared to compromise requirements simply to say vindication.

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8. Sadly, a bit of the Nigerian media has additionally joined the lynch mob. Truthfully, in an try to vilify authorities in any respect prices, they’ve finished themselves an amazing disservice. How can any information group value its salt write an Editorial validating this type of report? Are they not seeing what others, together with journalists and legal professionals, are seeing? In a surprising twist, a Nigerian newspaper selected to hail what it calls ‘’detailed investigative report’’ by CNN, even when the information channel didn’t even cowl the incident of Oct. twentieth 2020! It’s a basic case of slicing your nostril to spite your face.

9 CONCLUSIONS
i) – Gents, there’s completely nothing within the report that’s circulating to make us change our stand that there was no bloodbath at Lekki on Oct. twentieth 2020. For us to alter our stand, a well-investigated report of the incident that meets all required requirements and can face up to each scrutiny have to be produced and introduced to the general public. The report in circulation doesn’t meet these necessities.

We additionally enchantment to the households of these allegedly killed in Lekki to talk out. It’s untenable to say that some households didn’t come out as a result of they’re afraid. Any guardian who’s afraid to testify concerning the loss of life of his or her little one just isn’t value to be referred to as a guardian.

ii) – We reject the notion that our troopers and policemen massacred harmless Nigerians at Lekki on Oct. twentieth 2020. That conclusion just isn’t supported by the load of obtainable proof. Indictment for homicide is a really critical situation that can not be finished on the idea of allegations and corroborations, because the panel did.

Such allegations have to be proved past an inexpensive doubt. The report in circulation is calculated to embarrass the Federal Authorities and its companies with out foolproof proof. The Federal Authorities has by no means condoned the abuse of the rights of Nigerians by safety companies underneath any guise, therefore it disbanded SARS and inspired states to arrange the panels to research stories of human rights abuses allegedly dedicated by the disbanded SARS personnel

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iii) – The 37 policemen and 6 troopers who died throughout the nation throughout the Endsars protest are additionally Nigerians and shouldn’t be forgotten.

iv) – Those that have engaged in untimely celebration of the report in circulation ought to now return and skim it totally and inform Nigerians whether or not it could cross any critical scrutiny.

v) – We’re saddened that anybody died in any respect throughout the Endsars protest because the life of each Nigerian and certainly each human is sacrosanct. As we have now disclosed many instances, 57 civilians, 37 policemen and 6 troopers had been killed throughout the nation throughout the protest, and we commiserate with their households.

10) Gents, I thanks on your type consideration. I’ll now take your questions.

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