The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has remained silent days after the release of the Lagos EndSARS panel report.
The panel has released its report in which it described the Lekki Toll Gate incident as a massacre, contrary to the hard stance of Mohammed.
On October 20, 2020, soldiers had shot and killed some Nigerian youths protesting against police brutality under the tag ‘EndSARS’, at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos State.
While the soldiers drafted to the scene to contain the protest allegedly shot and killed protesters, DJ Switch had transmitted the incident live to the world via her social media handles.
Following the incident, CNN had carried out an investigation, in which, it affirmed the killings of protesters by the soldiers drafted to the Lekki Toll Gate.
Dismayed, Mohammed had denied claims that soldiers had shot protesters, while accusing DJ Switch of trying to destabilize the country.
Mohammed also claimed that some proponents of the protest used the alleged massacre to paint the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government in bad light before the international community.
In a series of press conferences, the Minister denied that nobody was killed when soldiers invaded the protest scene.
He described the EndSARS “massacre” at Lekki tollgate as false, requesting for the bodies of those killed.
Mohammed also maintained that the narrative by CNN that soldiers shot live bullets at the Lekki tollgate in Lagos State was ‘fake news’.
He had tagged the widespread reports as: “Phantom Massacre at Lekki tollgate” which should be discarded.
Against the backdrop of the conflicting stories surrounding the incident, the Lagos State Government had set up the EndSARS panel to unravel the truth.
The panel released its report in the week and it indicted the Federal Government, the police, and the Nigerian Army.
The report accused the soldiers drafted to the scene of the protest of shooting live bullets and killing some protesters.
However, its has been observed that the Minister, known for describing the Lekki massacre as a hoax, has remained “mum” over the released report.
Effort to get the Minister’s reaction also failed as at the time of filing this report.
Lai Mohammed should be sacked, Buratai’s immunity revoked
Meanwhile, Anthony Ehilebo, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Director of New Media, has called for the sack of Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, over the EndSARS panel report.
Ehilebo also called for the immediate removal of former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai’s immunity.
The Abuja-based lawyer made the call while reacting to the Lagos State EndSARS panel which indicted the Federal Government, the Nigerian Army, and the police.
Lamenting the circumstances surrounding the Lekki Toll gate shooting, Ehilebo said the then Inspector General of Police should also be recalled and probed.
According to Ehilebo: “Lai Mohammed should be sacked, and three things should happen. Buratai’s immunity should be revoked immediately; the National Assembly is joking. EndSARS is the second massacre he presided over. The IG of Police during the EndSARS protest should be recalled.”
Ehilebo also said the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu should be commended for establishing the EndSARS panel.
He, however, called on the governor to ensure the implementation of the panel’s recommendations.
Ehilebo said: “They were a very brave set of human beings, for whatever reason, I will forgive Sanwo-Olu if he implements the findings of that panel. I think rather than condemnation, Sanwo-Olu deserves commendation.
“Despite being in opposition, if you see what is done out of courage, you don’t need to politicize it. He was absolutely courageous.
“History will judge Sanwo-Olu very kindly for letting the truth come out. I and my friends are still arguing, why will he allow that kind of thing.”
He urged constituted authorities to probe who ordered the soldiers drafted to Lekki Toll Gate during the protest to shoot live ammunition at protesters.
The constitutional lawyer wondered why soldiers would shoot at Nigerians singing the national anthem while holding the country’s flag.
He said: “Who gave those instructions? The Army can’t fire live ammunition without an instruction from their Commander, and the Commander must have had instruction from above.
“When the incident happened, those of us that could speak out were monitored, our phones were monitored; at a time I could not make calls because they killed people.
“People are saying the outcry was because EndSARS happened in an urban environment that is why we are up in arms, but that is not the true story. It’s not because it happened in an urban environment, it’s because of the circumstances surrounding the incident.
“Do you know what it means to kill a citizen of your own country while they are singing the national anthem? The Army is paid and their bullets are bought by the taxes of citizens, and they opened fire on them.
“Nobody can give a soldier instruction to shoot citizens singing the Nigerian anthem while holding the country’s flag, when they are not enemies of the state.