The minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has asked promoters of the #EndSARS campaign who accused soldiers of killing innocent, peaceful and unarmed protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate to come up with the evidence of the mass murder or shut up.
Mohammed accused the promoters of using social media and fake news to cause mayhem in the country under the guise of peaceful protests.
He insisted that the claim of a massacre at the Lekki Toll Gate was false and that attempts by the protesters and some human rights groups to tarnish the image of the country using fake news and other disdainful tactics would not change the fact.
Insisting that the military merely fired blank ammunition into the air to scare the protesters, the Minister said: “While the Judicial Panel sitting in Lagos works to unravel what really transpired at the Lekki Toll Gate, available evidence so far points to the world’s first case of MASSACRE WITHOUT BLOOD OR BODIES. Those making the claims should show proof before the panel or shut up
The Federal Government is very satisfied with the role played by the security agencies, especially the military, and the police, all through the #EndSARS crisis. The security agents were professional and measured in their response. Even when their lives were at stake, they exercised uncommon restraint.”
Mohammed regretted that #EndSARS promoters and human rights activists failed to show empathy for several security personnel that was killed and injured in the mayhem by hoodlums who hijacked the protests. He said: “Their professionalism and measured response saved many lives and properties. For example, despite arresting hordes of looters during the violence in Lagos, the army treated them humanely and even counseled them before handing them over to the police.
The same cannot be said of those who unleashed mayhem on the security agents, killing and maiming them, sometimes in such a barbaric manner that is unprecedented in these parts.
‘’As I said earlier, six soldiers and 37 policemen were killed all over the country during the crisis. This is in addition to 196 policemen who have injured; 164 police vehicles that were destroyed and 134 police stations that were razed.
“Also, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, the Nigeria Customs Service, and Nigeria Immigration Service, all lost infrastructures, equipment and other valuables to attacks by hoodlums during the crisis. Eight medium-security custodial centres (prisons) in six states (Edo, Lagos, Abia, Delta, Ondo, and Ebonyi) were attacked, with 1,957 inmates set free and 31 staff
The Federal Government will, therefore, not accept a situation in which some so-called human rights bodies and jaundiced media organizations will continue to harass the security agencies over their roles during the crisis.
‘’Soldiers, policemen, and other security agents deserve commendation, not condemnation, except, of course, their critics are saying they are not human beings and that their own rights do not matter. “It is depressing and demoralizing to continue to vilify men and women in uniform, who themselves were victims of senseless violence unleashed by hoodlums.
‘’The role of the human rights organizations, in particular, became suspicious after they simply ignored the brutal killing and maiming of security agents during the crisis, as well as the orgy of violence that left 57 civilians dead, 269 private/corporate facilities burnt/looted/vandalized, 243 government facilities burnt/vandalized and 81 government warehouses looted.
Instead, they continued to dwell on the bodiless and bloodless ‘massacre’ at Lekki Toll Gate. They did not see anything wrong in the public and private properties that were burnt or looted, neither did they see anything wrong in the fact that some of the businesses that were looted belonged to struggling young men and women. All they could see in their biased view of the whole situation was a hoax massacre.”