Presidency on Thursday described the view of Amnesty International that the report on the Lekki shootings was skewed as false, noting that the global human rights organisation could not have more facts about things happening in Nigeria than the president.
This is as President Muhammadu Buhari has given ministers one-week ultimatum to submit reports of their consultations with their constituents on the ongoing #ENDSARS protests which had been hijacked by hoodlums, thereby resulting in a state of lawlessness in different parts of the country.
It would be recalled that President Buhari had at last week’s Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting mandated his ministers to go and interface with their constituents in a bid to stop the looting and burning of public and private properties by hoodlums who hijacked the peaceful EndSARS protests across the country.
It was gathered that President Buhari had given the cabinet members one week to turn in their reports on their town hall meetings with their people.
Meanwhile, speaking at Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina disputed the allegations that the looting and rioting were not caused by the military shootings, insisting that there was already violence in some parts of the country before the Lekki incident.
Fielding question on whether the violence was a fall out of the Lekki shootings, Adesina said, “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 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.”
Asked if it was the President’s thinking that Amnesty’s report was wrong, Chief Adesina alleged that Amnesty International was in the habit of making unsubstantiated reports about Nigeria. According to him, “Many times, the military has come out to dispute facts brought out by Amnesty.”
When asked whether President Buhari approved the military action in Lekki as the commander-in-chief, the presidential spokesman said he would not want to undermine the work of the panel of inquiry looking into the matter.
Speaking on the directives to ministers to visit states to douse tensions in their respective states, 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.”
On what to expect from the ministers’ reports, he said “it can only be positive. One, it will help us 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.”