Over 24 hours after the leaked report of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS and Related Abuses was made public, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed is yet to react to the findings.
1st News reports that the panel, set up to investigate the incident at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos on October 20, 2020; found that Nigerian Army troops and policemen deployed to the scene shot at and killed a number of protesters.
Additionally, the panel accused the authorities of an attempt at covering up what it described as a massacre; even as it noted that the military deployment to the Lekki Toll Gate was unnecessary; while also stating that the number of casualties may have been definitely higher than the nine it confirmed to have been killed; as well as the four presumed dead.
The report contradicted the vociferous and blatant denial by the Nigerian government that no one was killed at the Lekki Toll Gate; with Lai Mohammed who famously described the incident as a phantom massacre; also accusing CNN, Amnesty International and DJ Switch, one of the live witnesses at the scene; of lying and attempting to tarnish the image of the Nigerian government.
Since the publication of the report, however; 1st News can report that huge pressure has come to bear on President Muhammadu Buhari to fire Lai Mohammed.
One of such calls came from the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA).
In its statement issued by its coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko; HURIWA urged President Buhari to order the arrest and prosecution of Lai Mohammed for committing a grave and heartless offence; which it stated, was equivalent to the denial of the holocaust of the six million Jews by Adolf Hitler.
Meanwhile, feelers from within the Presidency indicate that President Buhari is seriously weighing up the option of sacking Lai Mohammed; notably as a means of assuaging the feelings of the populace since the findings of the panel was made public.
A source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, owing to the sensitive nature of the matter, stated that it won’t be a surprise if Lai Mohammed takes the fall for it.
‘‘Mr. President is yet to formally get a copy of the report. However, he has been briefed on its findings. The President is also aware of the public outcry and calls for Lai Mohammed to be sacked for his insistence that the incident at the Lekki Toll Gate was fabricated. He (Buhari) is believed to be weighing up his option in that respect as well,’’ the source disclosed.