The Federal Government has dismissed the report submitted by the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and other matters.
The report of the panel led by Justice Doris Okuwobi which was submitted to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos last week, disclosed that not less than eleven people were killed at the Lekki tollgate incident.
The report added that at least 48 protesters were either shot dead, injured with bullet wounds, or assaulted by soldiers.
The revelations have continued to generate reactions both locally and internationally particularly as the federal government had on several occasions after the Lekki Toll Gate shootings of October 20, 2020, insisted that no life was lost, and even demanded apologies from persons and organizations with reports on loss of lives during the incident.
Speaking at a news conference in Abuja on Tuesday, Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, described the leaked report as fake and a hoax, saying that the report was an “intimidation of the majority by a minority”.
He stated that the report circulating in social media cannot be relied upon, saying the document was full of discrepancies and errors.
The minister added that the Lagos judicial panel failed to address some of the issues raised by a ballistic expert that testified before it and the testimonies of the Nigerian Army.
Mohammed said the panel compiled allegations made by Nigerians and submitted them as a report to the Lagos state government, adding that the panel failed to investigate the claims of police brutality.
He described the content of the report as “tales by moonlight”, insisting that there was no “massacre” at the Lekki toll gate on October 20, 2020.
The minister said: “Without mincing words, let me say that never in the history of any Judicial Panel in this country has its report been riddled with so many errors, inconsistencies, discrepancies, speculations, innuendoes, omissions and conclusions that are not supported by evidence.
“What is circulating in public space is simply a rehash of the unverified fake news that has been playing on social media since the incident of October 20, 2020.
“It is simply incredible that a Judicial Panel set up to investigate an incident has submitted a report laden with allegations, the same allegations it was set up to investigate in the first instance.
“Instead of sitting for all of one year, the panel could have just compiled social media ‘tales by the moonlight’ on the incident and submitted, saving taxpayers’ funds and everyone’s time.
“That report is nothing but the triumph of fake news and the intimidation of a silent majority by a vociferous lynch mob.
“The report of the panel in circulation cannot be relied upon because its authenticity is in doubt. There is absolutely nothing in the report, circulating, to change our mind that there was a massacre at the Lekki tollgate.
“The report in circulation is calculated to embarrass the Federal Government and its agencies without foolproof evidence.
“The federal government has never condoned the abuse of the rights of Nigerians by security agencies under any guise, hence it disbanded SARS.”