Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, says there is no proof that any protester was killed at the Lekki tollgate in Lagos state in October 2020.
On October 20, 2020, some soldiers reportedly opened fire on protesters in an attempt to disperse them, but some were allegedly killed and wounded in the attack.
The protesters were calling on the authorities to scrap the now defunct special anti-robbery squad (SARS) over cases of brutality, harassment, extortion and extrajudicial killing.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday, Mohammed described the event at the tollgate as a “phantom massacre”.
“Today marks the first anniversary of the phantom massacre at Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, which was the culmination of an otherwise peaceful protest that was later hijacked by hoodlums,” the minister said.
“At earlier press conferences, I had called the reported massacre at the toll gate the first massacre in the world without blood or bodies.
“One year later, and despite ample opportunities for the families of those allegedly killed and those alleging a massacre to present evidence, there has been none: No bodies, no families, no convincing evidence, nothing. Where are the families of those who were reportedly killed at the toll gate? Did they show up at the Judicial Panel of Inquiry? If not, why?”
The minister said the military did not shoot at protesters, and that the only shooting “was in the social media, hence there were neither bodies nor blood”.
“The federal government remains proud of the security agencies for acting professionally and showing utmost restraint all through the EndSARS protest and the ensuing violence, an action that saved lives and properties,” he said.
“The six soldiers and 37 policemen who died during the EndSARS protests are human beings with families, even though the Human Rights Organizations and CNN simply ignored their deaths, choosing instead to trumpet a phantom massacre.”