THE Amnesty International (AI) has said it was not surprised by Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed’s rejection of the report of the Lagos #EndSARS judicial panel.
The minister had dismissed the report, describing it as ‘tales by moonlight’.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Tuesday, AI’s Nigeria Country Director Osai Ojigho observed that Mohammed had before now denied reports that casualties were recorded in the incident.
“It is not surprising for us at Amnesty International that the minister, Lai Mohammed, continues to deny the incident that happened that unfortunate day, the 20th of October 2020, at the Lekki Toll Gate because we have seen in the last one year the constant attacks, the constant narrative that is put out there to gas-light the victims, survivors and witnesses, and create an impression that people are just up to no good,” she said.
Advising the government to stop disputing the report and attacking members of the panel, Ojigho said all attention should be focused on ending human rights abuses that led to the protest in the first place.
According to her, AI had been calling for a transparent, open investigation into all that transpired during the #EndSARS protests.
“People died, people were injured, there were all kinds of petitions and complaints made even before the panels were set up regarding the SARS unit and the police in general.
“Why is it difficult for the authorities to address those petitions rather than focussing on targeting human rights defenders, targeting victims and witnesses, and questioning their integrity and legitimacy?”
Addressing newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday minister of information and culture Mohammed said the panel’s report was riddled with errors and inconsistencies, and arrived at conclusions that were not supported by evidence.
The report, which was leaked to the media, indicted the Nigerian Army and the Lagos State government in the killing of unarmed protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate and the subsequent cover-up of the incident.
The #EndSARS panel submitted its report on November 15 and the Lagos State government subsequently set up a review committee that would come up with a White Paper.