The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to order the dismissal, arrest and prosecution of the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed for alleged falsehood as to what transpired at the Lekki tollgate, Lagos State on October 20th, 2020.
According to HURIWA, the minister lied to Nigerians, adding that his claims have now been contradicted by a judicial panel of investigators in Lagos.
This was contained in a statement issued against the backdrops of the issuance of a conclusive judicial report by the Lagos State Judicial Panel of investigations into the Lekki incident last year.
Mohammed had claimed there was no killing, while the panel said there was a massacre in ‘context’.
The panel, in a 309-page report detailed how the Army and Police disregarded their rules of engagement during the protest.
The report in its executive summary, said: “The panel in its report found that on October 20, 2020, at the Lekki Toll Gate, officers of the Nigerian Army shot, injured and killed unarmed, helpless and defenseless protesters without provocation or justification, while they were waving the Nigerian flag and singing the national anthem and the manner of assault and killing could in context be described as a massacre.
“The panel also found that the conduct of the Nigerian Army was exacerbated by its refusal to allow ambulances render medical assistance to victims who required such assistance. The Army was also found not to have adhered to its own Rules of Engagement.”
HURIWA, in reaction to the report, said in a statement on Tuesday: “As there has emerged undisputed evidence that indeed there was systematic annihilation of many civilian protesters in Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos State last October, we are asking President Muhammadu Buhari as a father of all to order the arrest and prosecution of his minister of information, Lai Mohammed for committing a grave and heartless offence that is equivalent to the denial of the Holocaust of the 6 million Jews by Adolf Hitler which is punishable by nearly half a century of incarceration.
“HURIWA is also commending the brave members and Chairperson of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on the #ENDSARS PROTESTS especially the circumstances surrounding the massive cases of extrajudicial killings by the Army and armed police when these armed forces opened fire with lethal weapons targeted at the unarmed protesters.
“The Rights group asked the President not to sweep the lawlessness of the security agencies under the carpets just as the Rights group said if the President allows his information minister to get away with the impunity of denying the massacre that happened before the eyes of the world captured live on video cameras, then he will be remembered long after he has retired from public office as a dictator who oversaw the genocide of young protesters and the generations unborn will never forgive him for this.”
It would be recalled that Mohammed had vehemently claimed that there is no evidence to show that any protester was killed at the Lekki tollgate on October 20, 2020 during a press conference held in Abuja as young people took to the streets nationwide to mark the first anniversary of the #EndSARS protests.
He also faulted the claim by Amnesty International that no fewer than 12 protesters were killed in Lagos State by security operatives during the EndSARS protest, describing it a phantom.
The minister further asked the Cable News Network (CNN) and DJ Switch among others to “apologise for misleading the world that there was a massacre at the Lekki Toll Gate and for portraying the Nigerian military, police and other security agencies in a bad light.”