Nigeria’s Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has stated that there are several ‘inconsistencies and errors’ in the controversial #EndSARS panel report released last week.
Mohammed, in a statement made available to POLITICS NIGERIA in Abuja on Tuesday, highlighted some of these ‘errors/inconsistencies’ adding that the report was a ‘hoax’.
1. BALLISTIC REPORTS
The Minister stated: “The report threw away the testimony of ballistic experts who testified before it. The experts said, inter alia, in their testimony: ”The Team finds that from the medical data examined, including the
timeline of arrival at medical facility and the nature of the injuries sustained by the Victims, who were taken to the 5 medical facilities, that no military grade live ammunition (high-velocity) was fired at the protesters at Lekki Tollgate on 20th October 2020, within the timeframe of reference (18.30- 20.34hrs).
“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 caliber 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. This was clearly not the case.”
The Minister stated: “The same 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 mortem were conducted were from Lekki and only one had gunshot injury went on to contradict itself by saying nine persons died of gunshot wounds at Lekki!”
3. VICTIM TESTIMONY
Mohammed told Newsmen: “The man whose evidence (that he counted 11 bodies in a military van where he was left for dead before he escaped) was found to be crucial by the panel never testified in person. Rather, the video of his ‘testimony’ was played by someone else. It did not occur to the panel to query the veracity of the testimony of a man who said he was shot and presumed dead but still had time to count dead bodies inside a supposedly dark van at night!”
4. BLOOD STAINS AND BULLET CASINGS
The Minister said: “The panel said trucks with brushes underneath were brought to the Lekki Toll Gate in the morning of Oct. 21 2020 to clean up bloodstains and other evidence, but still found bullet casings at the same site when it visited on Oct. 30th 2020. It said soldiers picked up bullet casings from Lekki Toll Gate on the night of Oct. 20th 2020, yet claimed that policemen came to the same spot to pick the same bullet casings on Oct. 21st 2020!”
5. FAMILIES OF THE VICTIMS
Alhaji Mohammed 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?”
6. VICTIM LIST/MASSACRE
The Minister queried: “How can a Judicial Panel convince anyone that the names of some casualties of the Lekki Toll Gate incident listed as numbers 3 (Jide), 42 (Tola) and 43 (Wisdom) are not fictitious names.?”
“Why did the Judicial Panel feel compelled to concoct a ”massacre in context” as a euphemism for ”massacre”? A massacre is a massacre. What is ”massacre in context?'”
7. DESTROYED BUSINESSES
Mohammed queried: “The report didn’t make any recommendation on the innocent people whose businesses were attacked and destroyed during the protest in Lagos. I think it was too busy looking for evidence to support its conclusion of ‘massacre in context’.”
In conclusion, the Minister said; “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.”