Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has described the report of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry that investigated cases of police brutality as well as the October 20, 2020 killings at Lekki Toll Gate as ‘Tales by Moonlight’ and a regurgitation of social media fake news.
He lampooned the report which he said was filled with inconsistencies, errors, omissions, discrepancies and innuendoes.
Addressing journalists in Abuja on Tuesday, Mohammed said: “There is absolutely nothing in the report that is circulating to make us change our stand that there was no massacre at Lekki on October 20, 2020. For us to change our stand, a well investigated report of the incident that meets all required standards and will withstand every scrutiny must be produced and presented to the public. The report in circulation does not meet those requirements,” Mohammed declared.
”Gentlemen, we have read some critical analysis of the report by a courageous few. One commentator, a lawyer, said it raised more questions than answers.
”Another commentator, a journalist, called it a ‘disgraceful report by a disgraceful panel’, saying it reported allegations instead of investigating the allegations.
”Yet another wondered how a Judicial Panel could use the words ‘massacre in context’ and equate such to a massacre. All these and many more have raised valid questions on that report. We salute their courage and refusal to be cowed by the rampaging lynch mob that has been screaming blue murder since the report was released, ” he said.
He berated the Cable News Network (CNN) for prematurely celebrating the leaked report.
Said the minister on the report: “it is fake, riddled with so many errors and cannot be relied upon because its authenticity is in doubt.
“CNN apparently didn’t even read the report before rolling out the drums in celebration.
“By that action, CNN has celebrated prematurely and has now committed a double faux pas: first, by relying on unverified social media stories and videos to carry out an investigation of the Oct. 20 2020 incident at Lekki, where it did not have a correspondent on ground.
“CNN goofed in its report on the findings of the panel, which fell below the main standards of journalism.
“Secondly, CNN rushed to the air to celebrate an unsigned and unverified report that is riddled with inconsistencies, errors, discrepancies and innuendoes.
“That’s double faux pas by a news organisation that is eager and willing to compromise standards just to claim vindication,’’ he said.
The minister also berated some section of the Nigerian media which he said had also joined the lynch mob.
“Honestly, in an attempt to vilify government at all costs, they have done themselves a great disservice.
“How can any news organisation worth its salt write an editorial validating this kind of report?.
“Are they not seeing what others, including journalists and lawyers are seeing?
“In a shocking twist, a Nigerian newspaper chose to hail what it calls ‘’detailed investigative report’’ by CNN, even when the news channel did not even cover the incident of Oct. 20 2020!.
“It’s a classic case of cutting your nose to spite your face,’’ he said.
Mohammed reiterated that there was nothing in the report in circulation that would make the government to change its stand that there was no massacre at Lekki on Oct. 20 2020.
▪︎ Additional reports by NAN