Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s Information Minister, has dismissed claims of citizens being killed at the Lekki toll gate last month.
Mr Mohammed reacted yesterday when he led the federal government’s delegation to a meeting with Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Enugu State governor and some traditional rulers, reports Ripples Nigeria.
He has been leading the push by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to have free speech stifled and not backing down despite rejections by Nigerians and civil society organisations.
His account of what transpired at one of the Lagos scenes of protests demanding end to police brutality and reforms contradict facts on ground.
While Amnesty International indicted the Nigerian military to have killed about ten citizens when they swooped on the peaceful demonstrators, Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, latter admitted two lives were lost after initially saying no one was killed.
Addressing his audience, the information minister reiterated the federal government’s resolve to regulate social media which have been severally blamed as brain behind escalation of the nationwide demonstrations.
Mohammed said no massacre occurred physically on October 20 but only on social media.
“There was no massacre at the Lekki Toll Gate. The only massacre that took place during the EndSARS protest was the social media massacre,” the mouthpiece of the government reportedly said.
“Fake news was used; they used social media to spread what did not happen, which led to reprisals.
“The Federal Government had warned about fake news as far back as 2017; we launched a national campaign against fake news because we foresaw this. Fake news kills more than any pandemic.
“There must be social media regulation. But social media regulation does not mean stifling the media, it does not mean shutting down the social media, it means responsive use of the social media. Fake news can shake the cause of the world,” he added.