Human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Femi Falana has rejected the report issued by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour on the October 20, 2020 shooting incident at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos.
The US in the report, published on Wednesday, said there was no accurate information on the incident.
The report noted that while the Amnesty International alleged that 10 protesters were killed, the Nigerian government disputed the report, adding that no other organisation was able to verify the report.
But in a swift reaction, Falana, in a statement issued yesterday described the US report as an attempt to cover up the brutal killings at Lekki and other parts of Lagos from October 20 to 27, 2020.
The senior lawyer also described the report as a contradictory report, which on one hand, claimed that the members of the security forces were enforcing curfew by firing into the air to disperse protesters, and on the hand alleged that some protesters had turned violent after criminal elements infiltrated them, resulting to the use of fire power by security forces.
Falana said the report did not mention the detachment of the Nigerian army, which perpetrated the mayhem.
“Do soldiers shoot into the air to enforce curfew in the United States?” Falana queried.
Falana urged the media to stop treating Nigerians like colonial subjects by celebrating a foreign report that was subversive of the rule of law in Nigeria. “How can the United States Government be allowed to treat the proceedings before a properly constituted Judicial Panel of Inquiry so contemptuously? The report is prejudicial in every material particular. It should be ignored by the Judicial Panel as it is designed to pre-empt the evidence being adduced by the survivors of the barbaric attack,” Falana explained.
The human rights lawyer also pointed out that the report did not acknowledge that the Nigerian army which initially denied that soldiers were present at the Lekki toll gate later turned round to admit that they were there but fired only bland bullets.
“The Americans should update the report by explaining how casualties and amputees were recorded when the soldiers only shot into the air,” he added.