On Thursday, the Federal Government insisted that when soldiers dispersed #EndSARS protestors at the Lekki Toll Gate, Lagos on October 20, 2020, as Nigerians and the international community are made to believe, there was no massacre.
This was said at a press conference in Abuja by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed.
Mohammed, who was joined by the heads of parastatals under his ministry at the briefing, attributed the massacre reports to those he described as providers of fake news.
He said what was alleged to have happened could be either a “massacre of social media” or a “massacre without bodies at best.”
The minister said, “While we are waiting for the Lagos judicial panel to unravel what happened at the Lekki Toll Gate, what we can say, based on testimony available in the public space, is that the world may have just witnessed a massacre without bodies for the very first time ever!”
The testimony of Brig.-Gen, Ahmed Ibrahim Taiwo of the Nigerian Army before the panel was compelling, and I am sure many of you have listened to or watched it.’ Some have tagged it’ social media massacre.’
Relying heavily on the testimony of Taiwo, Mohammed insisted that soldiers fired blank ammunition into the air at Lekki Toll Gate and that it could not have done any harm to the flesh, not to speak of killing anyone.
He challenged those alleged to be massacred at the toll gate to appear to the world before the judicial panel or simply admit they were goofing.
The minister said, “Unfortunately, the suppliers of false news and disinformation succeeded in deceiving the world that there was indeed mass murder in Lekki, even when not a single body was produced to date and not a single-family or relative came out to say that their child or ward was killed in Lekki.”
The fact that some people have called for sanctions against Nigeria or against Nigerian government officials on the basis of a hoax is even more surprising and irresponsible.
“This is one of the dangers of disinformation and fake news. Many run with it once fake news is out, without looking back, even when the truth is Revealed eventually.
“Therefore, we want to take advantage of this opportunity to ask those who allegedly massacred at the Lekki Toll Gate to go to the judicial panel to present their evidence(s) to the world or simply admit that they have made a goof.”