The Presidency on Thursday alleged that Amnesty International had skewed it’s report on the Lekki shootings, pointing out that the global body was crying more than the bereaved, as it could not have more facts about happenings in Nigeria than the country’s leadership headed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
An on-the-ground investigation by Amnesty International had claimed that the Nigerian army and police killed at least 12 peaceful protesters at two locations in Lagos. The killings took place in Lekki and Alausa, where thousands were protesting police brutality as part of the #EndSars movement.
The development is coming a few days after President Buhari had asked his ministers to relocate to their respective home states for the purpose of dousing the tension created by the #ENDSARS protests and the lawlessness that followed.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme, presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, refuted the Amnesty International reports which alleged that the shooting, looting and rioting among other violent action were precipitated by the military.
The presidential spokesman insisted that there was already violence in some parts of the country even before the incident that took place in Lekki area.
Providing an answer to a question which suggested that the looting came following the Lekki shootings, Adesina responded, “You are not quite correct. You are falling for the narrative of Amnesty International. And Amnesty is wrong. Anarchy had broken loose before even Lekki. The prisons in Benin and Oko had been broken open before Lekki. Orile police station had been burnt before Lekki.
“Many policemen had been burnt before Lekki. So, you cannot say it was Lekki that precipitated all those things. Look at the timelines, look at when all those things. You will discover that it had happened before Lekki. So, you are falling for the gambit of Amnesty International.
“Amnesty International does not have all the facts, they don’t run this country, they shouldn’t know beyond what they have been told. They shouldn’t know more than you and I should know as media people as watchers of developments.”
On the President’s impression of the Amnesty report, Adesina said Amnesty International was known to always make unsubstantiated reports about Nigeria.
“Many times, the military has come out to dispute facts brought out by Amnesty,” he said.
On whether the President approved the military deployment to Lekki, Adesina said the matter was subjudice, adding that he would not want to undermine the work of the panel of inquiry already set up to look into the matter.
Speaking on the directives to ministers to visit states to douse station, Adesina said, “I can tell you because there was another Federal Executive Council meeting yesterday (Wednesday), the president asked for briefs from ministers who went out.
“Only two had their reports ready as at yesterday because some others were still in their respective states still carrying out their assignment. So, the president said all of them should turn in their reports through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation in the incoming week.”
Adesina said the reports will help the authorities to “establish the truth to somethings because there are a lot of conjectures, colourations, outright falsehoods, fake news and all that. The ministers can come with what is near authentic based on the consultations they are going to make.”