Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, praised the police and the Nigerian Army for their roles in the #EndSARS protests last year, even as he maintained that the incident at the Lekki toll plaza last year was a "phantom massacre with no bodies."
Mohammed made the remarks during a press conference in Abuja, as protestors gathered in many major cities throughout the country to commemorate the #EndSARS protests.
The minister also chastised CNN, DJ Switch, and the global rights organization Amnesty International for claiming that people were slain at the tollgate.
"The Federal Government is proud of the security agencies for responding professionally and with utmost restraint throughout the #EndSARS demonstration and ensuing violence, an action that saved lives and properties," he stated.
"The six soldiers and 37 police officers who died during the EndSARS protests are human persons with families, despite the fact that human rights organizations and CNN chose to disregard their deaths in favor of trumpeting a phantom massacre."
Mohammed stated that the National Economic Council, which is comprised of all governors and Federal Government members and is chaired by the Vice President, has previously addressed various concerns related to the #EndSARS protest.
He explained that the NEC had revealed that 28 states and the Federal Capital Territory had established judicial panels and commissions of inquiry under the auspices of the National Human Rights Commission to investigate allegations of human rights violations levied against members of the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies, particularly members of the defunct SARS.
"Of the 28 states, 11 have presented their final reports to council (Abia, Ekiti, Enugu, Gombe, Kwara, Nasarawa, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Plateau, and Rivers)," the minister said.
Each state, in coordination with the federal government, must develop methods for settling all monetary compensations awarded by the panels. As agreed by the NEC, numerous states have already established Victims Compensation Funds, from which several victims have already received payouts of sums awarded to them by the panels.
During a press conference, Mohammed emphasized that police reform would be incremental and could not be accomplished quickly.
He also stated that the cops perform a lot of good in society, which the media rarely reports on.
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