Nigeria: Lekki Shooting - CSOs Knock Presidency for Rejecting Amnesty International's Investigative Report

Young Nigerians holding placards at an EndSARS protest (file photo).
29 October 2020

Abuja — Some civil society organizations (CSOs), on Thursday, said the rejection of Amnesty International's timeline investigative report on the shooting of #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Tollgate by the Presidency was not surprising.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, while speaking as a guest on Channels TV's Sunrise Daily, had alleged that the report was skewed, adding that Amnesty International couldn't have possessed more facts about things happening in the country than the President.

However, in separate interviews with Vanguard in Abuja, the CSOs dismissed Adesina's explanations as inconsequential and pedestrian.

The Legal Counsel to #RevolutionNow Movement, Inibehe Effiong Esq., said: "It doesn't lie in the Presidency's position to either accept or reject the AI report. The document was released into the public domain and not submitted to the President.

"It's unfortunate that the Federal Government appears to be missing the opportunity presented by the report to deepen its inquiry into the massacre of innocent Nigerian protesters.

"The report is there in the public space for anyone to go through and draw inferences as to who is telling the truth between the Presidency and Amnesty International.

"We consider it shameful that the government has not realized the masses take their self-contradictory explanations about what transpired on 'Black Tuesday' in Lekki with a pinch of salt."

Also, the Programme Director, Yiaga Africa, Cynthia Mbamalu, while speaking on the development, said: "We were not expecting the Presidency to accept either the Amnesty International report, or that of the various judicial panels of inquiry that have so far been set up at different levels."

She challenged the Federal Government to come clean with the whereabouts of the panel reports that indicted the military of severe human rights violations, particularly the mass shooting and burial of the Shi'ites in Zaria five years ago.

Mbamalu also said, "Yiaga Africa is more concerned with monitoring the proceedings of the various panels set up to investigate the Lekki shooting with a view to advocating for unconditional implementation of the reports that would emerge for the inquiries.

"In controversies as this, we expect the National Assembly to checkmate the executive arm of government with a view to ensuring that people are made to account for the extra-judicial killing of unarmed protesters, those found culpable are prosecuted, while the victims and their families are compensated as a healing process."

Speaking in a similar vein, the convener of Centre for Liberty, Raphael Adebayo, said, "The Presidency's rejection of the AI report is inconsequential because, as far as we know, the investigative timeline was built on facts which are universally sacred.

"So, Adesina's remarks simply reinforce the belief in some quarters that the government is 'tone deaf' to the yearnings and aspirations of the masses.

"But what matters most in this scenario is that justice is not only served, but actually seen to be served. Shooting dead, unarmed protesters who were waving the Nigerian flag and singing the national anthem by suspected military personnel amounts to an act of treason.

"So, President Buhari must realize that the buck stops at his desk as the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces to protect and defend the sovereignty and integrity of the nation.

"The onus lies with him to tell Nigerians who desecrated the symbols of our nationhood. If the Presidency is denying the AI report, it must then tell Nigerians who ordered the Lekki massacre."

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