The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria has called for the termination of the appointment of the Minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, over alleged falsehood regarding the shooting of innocent protesters at the Lekki tollgate, Lagos State in October 2020.
The organisation held that the minister lied to Nigerians about the actual happenings at the scene of the incident.
It added that Mohamned’s claim that no one was killed by military men at the tollgate was contradicted by the findings of a judicial panel of investigators set up in the state.
Lai Mohammed had after the shooting at the Lekki tollgate claimed that there was no killing.
But the panel in its report submitted to the state government on Monday stated that there was a massacre in ‘context’.
HURIWA however, made the declaration in a statement issued against the backdrop of the issuance of a conclusive judicial report by the Lagos State Judicial Panel of investigations into the Lekki incident last year.
It was earlier reported that the report of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution on Lekki Toll Gate Shooting Incident and Cases of Police Brutality, as well as human rights violations, accused the Nigerian Army and the Police of complicity in the death of peaceful protesters at the Lekki tollgate in 2020.
The 309-page report detailed how the Army and Police disregarded their rules of engagement during the protest and fired at protesters who were reciting the National Anthem.
The report in its executive summary said, “The panel in its report found that on October 20, 2020, at the Lekki Toll Gate, officers of the Nigerian Army shot, injured and killed unarmed, helpless and defenseless protesters without provocation or justification, while they were waving the Nigerian flag and singing the national anthem and the manner of assault and killing could in context be described as a massacre.
“The panel also found that the conduct of the Nigerian Army was exacerbated by its refusal to allow ambulances render medical assistance to victims who required such assistance. The Army was also found not to have adhered to its own Rules of Engagement.”
HURIWA said in the statement that, “As there has emerged undisputed evidence that indeed there was systematic annihilation of many civilian protesters in Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos State last October, we are asking the President Muhammadu Buhari as a father of all to order the arrest and prosecution of his minister of information, Lai Mohammed for committing a grave and heartless offence that is equivalent to the denial of the Holocaust of the 6 million Jews by Adolf Hitler which is punishable by nearly half a century of incarceration.
“HURIWA is also commending the brave members and Chairperson of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on the #ENDSARS PROTESTS especially the circumstances surrounding the massive cases of extrajudicial killings by the Army and armed police when these armed forces opened fire with lethal weapons targeted at the unarmed protesters.
“The Rights group asked the President not to sweep the lawlessness of the security agencies under the carpets just as the Rights group said if the President allows his information minister to get away with the impunity of denying the massacre that happened before the eyes of the world captured live on video cameras, then he will be remembered long after he has retired from public office as a dictator who oversaw the genocide of young protesters and the generations unborn will never forgive him for this.”
Mohammed had stridently claimed that there is no evidence to show that any protester was killed at the Lekki tollgate on October 20, 2020 during a press conference held in Abuja as young people took to the streets nationwide to mark the first anniversary of the #EndSARS protests.