From Adetutu Folasade-Koyi, Abuja
The Federal Government has demanded apologies from Cable News Network (CNN) and Amnesty International for reporting ‘phantom massacre’ of Nigerians during last year’s #EndSARS protests at Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos State.
While protesters insisted that security agencies killed citizens for protesting against police brutality, the federal government has maintained that nobody was killed at Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020.
A year after, government reiterated its position at a press conference where Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, asked: “Where are the families of those killed at Lekki Toll Gate?”
Government directly accused CNN and Amnesty of deliberately misinforming the world with misleading figures of people killed at Lekki Toll Gate, and insisted that the American-owned cable television station had no reporter on ground that day.
With regards to Amnesty, the federal government said the rights group kept changing the figures of those who were killed by security agencies until it finally settled on a figure of 12 people killed that day.
Said Mohammed: “Today (yesterday) 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?
“Sadly, the champions of a massacre at the Lekki Tollgate, including Amnesty International and CNN, have continued to shamelessly hold on to their unproven stand.
“With the preponderance of evidence against any massacre at the Lekki Tollgate on October 20, 2020, we are, once again, reiterating what we said one year ago, that the military did not shoot at protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020, and there was no massacre at the toll gate. The only ‘massacre’ recorded was in the social media, hence, there were neither bodies nor blood.
“Amnesty International, CNN, a runaway DJ and others like them should apologise for misleading the world that there was a massacre at the Lekki Tollgate and for portraying the Nigerian military, police and other security agencies in bad light.”
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