An Islamic human rights organisation, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has broken its silence on the leaked #EndSARS report on the clash between protesters and Nigeria’s security agencies at Lekki Toll Gate whick took place on October 20, 2020.
In a statement on Thursday by its director, Ishaq Akintola, the group handed down a resounding verdict of rejection of the report, describing it as full of loopholes and lacking credibility.
The group said:
“In the wake of a Tsunami of rejections which greeted the leaked report of the #EndSARS report, we of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), having critically scrutinised the report with the aid of experts hereby affirm that the said report is full of loopholes, discrepancies, half truths, irregularities and inconsistencies too many to mention.
“For the sake of clarity, we assert that life is sacred and to that extent we abhor the killing of protesters even if it is just one person. But that does not give a panel the excuse to come up with concocted figures from resurrected ghosts or the licence to endorse criminality. #EndSARS panel suffers from desertification of credibility.
“The wordings of the report is replete with terminological inexactitude. Exempli gratia, the word ‘massacre’ was used to describe the so called killing of a total of nine people whereas ‘massacre’ is used for the killing of tens, hundreds and thousands of people. This is symptomatic of a desperation to indict at all cost.
“Nigerians were made to suffer the trauma of mathematical juggling from DJ Switch’s 78 bodies to CNN’s 56, BBC’s 38 and the feminists’ paltry figure of 23 which the panel pruned down to nine (9) bodies. But analysts have even reduced the figure to three or four after establishing prima facie cases of improper evaluation of evidence. This report cannot stand the test of time.
“There are outright lies in the report. For instance, the Doctor at Reddingtons never mentioned that a dead body was deposited at the hospital, yet the panel claimed on page 287 that he did. A body was alleged to have been deposited in an hospital whose officials later said had no mortuary facility. A man who reported seeing the lifeless body of his brother himself was listed as one of the dead. Kolade Salami, who was killed in 2019, was listed among the victims of Lekki shootings.
“Half names were given without addresses while no relations have turned up to claim bodies. Yet the panel recommends payment of compensation to the non-existing families. People who died long ago were listed as victims of the Lekki shooting. These are some of the reasons the panel’s recommendations are laughable, irrational and unrealistic. A kindergarten lawyer will tear the panel’s report into shreds within minutes.
“We find it most unusual and unethical that the panel rejected the testimony of ballistic experts who testified before it. This points to a hidden agenda and a pre-determined position. Another major defect in the report is in the composition of the panel. We have reason to believe that the state government was rail-roaded into including people who had expressed support for the protest as well as certain anti-establishment elements in the panel. One of the key drivers of the panel has led several protests at the same spot (Lekki) against the state government. He is also in court against the government.
“Contrary to the maxim nemo judex in causa sua (one cannot be a judge in his own case), such people sat in judgement on a matter they have expressed interest. This may be traced to the fact that the panel was set up when Lagos was burning and certain proviso may have been given by the protesters. We foresee a prolonged legal battle if this leaked report is accepted by the panel’s convener.
“We call on the global community to patiently peruse the leaked report and subject it to critical analysis before jumping to conclusions. There is no point asking the Nigerian government to implement recommendations reached per in curiam (in manifest error). The lack of balance in the report is most glaring when it is realised that none of those who participated in the destruction of public properties were recommended for sanction. It is too one-sided. The panel had no single word of condemnation for those who brutally killed 22 policemen. Some of the murdered policemen were roasted and eaten a la cannibal.
“We call on Western countries, especially the United States, to compare this to what is happening to insurrectionists of 6th January 2020 at the Capitol. Some aides of ex-President Donald Trump were subpoenaed yesterday, 24th November, 2021. Steve Bannon, former Whitehouse Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor to the President, has been indicted for his role in the attack on Capitol Hill but the Lagos panel wants compensation for arsonists who burned more than 300 brand new luxurious buses meant for public transport a well as the Lagos High Court complex. Who does that?
“Human rights groups and the rest of civil society can be radical. This is their nature. But like the media, they must also be rational and level-headed, otherwise they will militarise the youth, incite insurrection and promote social disorder. Group terror will supplant perceived government tyranny. The oppression of capitalist comprador bourgeoisie will simply be replaced by gang totalitarian dictatorship. The jamahiir (the poor masses) will end up as the victims.
“In MURIC, our belief is that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are not necessarily enemies of the system. They can partner with government to improve the people’s welfare.
“In view of the above, we are constrained to conclude that the panel made a futile attempt to fetch water for Nigerians with a rickety old basket. The more they try to fill the basket, the more the water leaked. The convener of the panel has a duty to come to the panel’s aid following due process at every step. This rickety old basket must be replaced by those who know how to fetch water successfully.”