FG criticises #OccupyLekkiTollGate protesters as “gullible people”
Nigerian Government on Thursday criticised the attitude of some Nigerian youth, saying they were “gullible people” as they are being pushed by Nigerians in the diaspora.
“We know that many of those who have been loudest on social media in advertising the plan to reconvene in Lagos on Saturday are not even in Nigeria,” Nigeria’s information minister Lai Mohammed said at a press conference in Abuja.
“They are elsewhere around the world fanning the embers of violence and inciting gullible people back home (Nigeria).”
Mohammed’s comment adds to previous comments President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has made criticising Nigerian youths.
In April 2018, Buhari criticised the attitude of some Nigerian youth, saying they were lazy youths.
Also, during an interview in 2016 with UK Telegraph, Buhari said some Nigerians in the UK, mostly youth, are disposed to criminality and should not be granted asylum there.
The administration has been fiercely criticised for its disparaging comments on the Nigerian youths, with many saying it failed to convey the reality of Nigerian youth’s exploits.
The information minister’s comment is coming days after some youths took to social media to speak against the handover of Lekki toll gate, where Nigerian forces opened fire on unarmed #EndSARS protesters last October, to its owners Lekki Concession Company (LCC).
Members of the judicial panel set up by the Lagos State Government to investigate the October 2020 Lekki shooting voted 5-4 in favor of the handover on Saturday.
Young people mobilising through social media have called out the panel for approving the release of the toll gate while an investigation is ongoing.
Many are vexed that the government has not owned up to the killing of unarmed protesters, who marched against police brutality on the night of October 20.
The events of the night of October 20 at Lekki culminated in large-scale violence that grounded the state.
Mohammed said, “never again will the Federal Government allow the kind of violence that was perpetrated across the country under the guise of the #EndSars last October.”
Although many critics said it was bottled anger of many of the country’s youth over unfair profiling and harassment by the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit of the police, in particular, it has found an outlet in the protest.
The protests, which started with no defined or any central leadership, were largely peaceful at the beginning. It, however, spiraled into chaos after it was hijacked by hoodlums who looted and destroyed properties.
The protest reached its climax in late October when military forces fired live rounds on October 20 in a bid to disperse protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate. A CNN investigation found that the army fired directly at the protesters and used live ammunition and not in the air with blank rounds as was initially claimed.
Amnesty International said that the Nigerian forces killed at least 12 protesters and accused the Nigerian government of shielding those responsible.
In fact, Mohammed still reignites authorities how it describes allegations of the Lekki shooting as fake news.
“Anyone who has any information on the alleged shooting or purported massacre at the Lekki Toll Gate, including the names and addresses of those who were purportedly killed, should head to the Panel to give it such information,” he said.
But Nigerians await the findings of a judicial panel of inquiry set up to investigate the shooting.
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