The federal government has remained dumb to the reactions that espoused the report of the Lagos Panel on Restitution for the Victims of SARS-Related Abuses and Other Matters, yet its loyalists are flooding social media platforms with unverified claims to ridicule the report.
The panel, in a 309-page report, submitted to Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Lagos State Governor, listed 48 victims of the October 20, 2020 massacre at the Lekki Tollgate. While some of the casualties lost their lives, others died or went missing.
Before the panel’s report effaced in the public domain, Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, had on many occasions debunked claims of a massacre at the tollgate, challenging those who opposed him to come up with evidence. He has remained hidden from the media since the revelation of the panel.
However, while most government officials have not commented on the Lagos panel’s report, their loyalists are doing their best to fault it. One of them, Idowu Olatunbosun Patrick, said, on Facebook, that the Kolade Salami said, in the panel’s report, to have lost his life at the Lekki Tollgate was actually killed by “SARS operatives in April 2017, but the panel listed him among those killed at Lekki on the night of Oct 20, 2020”.
Oshodi Folarin, another government troll, said, “Kolade is my real time pal back in UNIBEN and he died in March, 2019. Why list him among the Lekki Tollgate cases? We need the truth to unravel. The panel didn’t do the job they were paid for”.
CLAIM: The Lagos judicial panel is accused of adding the name of a young Nigerian who died before 2020 to its list of victims of the October 20, 2020 Lekki Tollgate shooting.
In the first statement, Patrick mentioned April 2017, while Folarin mentioned March 2019 in the second as the period Salami died. This clearly shows inconsistency. Previous Facebook posts of the duo also give them off as ardent supporters of Muhammadu Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC) government.
Using a powerful internet explorer, FIJ checked reports of the Nigerian media between January 1, 2017, and November 18, 2021, but found no evidence that Salami was killed in March 2019. Rather, Johnson was gruesomely murdered by the police during the period.
The identity of Kolade Salami who was mentioned in the panel’s report could not be found anywhere on the internet. But reports about Johnson’s death are everywhere.
On Facebook, FIJ sent messages to Patrick and Folarin, asking for evidence that Salami died before the October 2020 shooting at Lekki Tollgate, but none of them responded to the message.
CONCLUSION: There is no proof that Kolade Salami did not die at the Lekki Tollgate as revealed in the Lagos judicial panel’s report.
VERDICT: The claims that Kolade Salami died earlier than October 20, 2020, and that the Lagos judicial panel goofed are false.
Be the first to receive special investigative reports and features in your inbox.