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Five Times Buhari's Infamous Minister, Lai Mohammed Blindly Denied Lekki Tollgate Killings

November 16, 2021

Mohammed claimed not a single body had been produced or a single family come out to claim their loved ones were killed at the Lekki Toll Gate.


Nigeria's Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has consistently denied that the Nigerian Army killed peaceful protesters at the Lekki tollgate on October 20, 2020.

On November 19 2020, the Minister said Obianuju Catherine Udeh, popularly known as DJ Switch, who did a live stream, on Instagram, the Lekki shootings of October 20 will soon be exposed for spreading falsehood.


He had also suggested that she might be acting out a script written by other people and vowed that she would be exposed in due course.

Mohammed, who described the event of October 20, 2020, as a “massacre without bodies”, insisted that contrary to DJ Switch’s claims, not a single body has been produced or a single family has come out to claim their family member was killed at the Lekki tollgate.

He said at the time, “One of the purveyors of fake news was one DJ Switch whose real name is Obianuju Catherine Udeh, even though she claimed authentic evidence of mass killings. Surprisingly, instead of presenting whatever evidence she may have, she chose to escape from the country on the claim that her life was in danger. In danger for who?”

Secondly, in November 2020, a report by the Cable News Network (CNN) showed that the Nigerian Army truly fired live and blank bullets at protesters at the Lekki toll gate but Lai Mohammed, in a press conference in Abuja described the report as “irresponsible journalism”.

Mohammed claimed not a single body had been produced or a single family come out to claim their loved ones were killed at the Lekki Toll Gate.

He called for a sanction for the foreign media organisation but did not disclose where the sanction should come from.

The CNN had released the second part of an investigation on the incident, which further implicates the Nigerian Army in the killing of peaceful protesters.

In response, the Nigerian Government described the report as fake news without providing evidence of its own claim.

Lai Mohammed claimed CNN was desperate and peddling fake news.

He said, “He said, “It shows that they are desperate. The so-called recent development has been seen before. There is nothing new. If there is anything new, it is a contradiction of CNN’s position.

“What we are asking CNN is that where is your evidence? The military has been consistent. CNN contravenes the basic principles of journalism – fairness, and balance.

“They did the story without contacting the federal government for its own side. They relied on second and third parties narratives.

“They (CNN) were caught spreading fake news and they are trying to escape. We are accusing them of basing their stories on videos sourced on social media.

“CNN has been inconsistent. It also doctored the video it got. We are confident in our position.”

Also in January 2021, human rights' body, Amnesty International, took a swipe at the Nigerian government that 100 days after the Lekki tollgate shooting in Lagos State, the government had yet to secure justice for the victims of the incident but had been engaging in denials and cover-up.

AI had expressed worry that the EndSARS movement's supporters continued to face intimidation from the state actors such as the Central Bank of Nigeria which since December 2020 froze the accounts of about 20 identified supporters.

Reacting, Lai Mohammed demanded that AI show proof of the 12 people reportedly killed during the shooting at the Lekki toll gate or “shut up”.

Also, on February 5, 2021 while speaking on TVC ‘This Morning’ show, Lai Mohammed said, “As we speak today, nobody has come forward to produce evidence of those that were killed at Lekki Toll Gate,” he said.

“If anybody has information, such a person should come forward. We were transparent enough to allow the enquiries to be televised live. There is no cover-up.”

A year after the incident, on October 20, 2021 Lai Mohammed while addressing a press conference had described the event at the tollgate as a “phantom massacre”.

He had said, “Today marks the first anniversary of the phantom massacre at Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, which was the culmination of an otherwise peaceful protest that was later hijacked by hoodlums.

“At earlier press conferences, I had called the reported massacre at the toll gate the first massacre in the world without blood or bodies. One year later, and despite ample opportunities for the families of those allegedly killed and those alleging a massacre to present evidence, there has been none: No bodies, no families, no convincing evidence, nothing.

“Where are the families of those who were reportedly killed at the toll gate? Did they show up at the Judicial Panel of Inquiry? If not, why?

“Sadly, the champions of a massacre at the Lekki Toll Gate, including Amnesty International and CNN, have continued to shamelessly hold on to their unproven stand.

“Recall, gentlemen, that after bandying different figures, Amnesty International finally settled at about 12 people killed. On its part, CNN went from 38 people killed to two to just one, after a supposed global exclusive even when the network had no reporter on ground at the Lekki Toll Gate on Oct. 20th 2020.

“On Monday, the Judicial Panel of Inquiry that was set up by the Lagos State Government after the EndSARS protest wrapped up its sitting. During the sitting, CNN was summoned but it never showed up, thus missing a great opportunity to prove its allegation of massacre at the toll gate.

“Also, Amnesty International had a golden opportunity to convince the world, but it rather opted for issuing meaningless press releases.”

Meanwhile, the Lagos State Judicial Panel on #EndSARS, in their report submitted to the Lagos state government on Monday was able to establish that there was truly a massacre at the Lekki tollgate. 

The report clearly found the Nigerian Army and police fired live bullets at peaceful protesters at the Lekki Tollgate last year.

It also concluded that the “deliberate absence of officers of the Nigerian Army who were present at the Lekki Toll Gate and who were summoned by the Panel was a calculated attempt to conceal material evidence from the Panel”.

Also, it said ‘the atrocious maiming and killing of unarmed, helpless and unresisting protesters, while sitting on the floor and waving their Nigerian flags, while singing the National Anthem can be equated to a ‘massacre’ in context.

“A massacre has been defined as the killing of multiple individuals, which is considered to be morally unacceptable especially when perpetrated by political actors against defenseless victims.”—Wikipedia

“The Panel considered whether what took place at the Lekki Toll Gate on the 20th October, 2020 was a MASSACRE.

“According to the learned authors of Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, one of the meanings of MASSACRE is ‘the act or instance of killing a number of usually helpless or unresisting human beings under circumstances of atrocity or cruelty.’”