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Presidency faults AI, says anarchy preceded shootings

The Presidency has disagreed with the global human rights body, Amnesty International (AI)’s report that the looting and arsons committed by hoodlums in some parts of the country was precipitated by the shooting of #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos. Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said jailbreaks in Benin and Oko, attacks on police stations and murder of police personnel in different places were pointers to the fact that the chaos that had recently pervaded the country were not just as a result of the Lekki incident. It also disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered all ministers to submit reports on their findings on the #End- SARS protests in their respective states.

Adesina, while fielding questions on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme yesterday morning, described the AI’s reports of the protest as misleading and inaccurate. According to him, the global agency’s report on the crisis was inaccurate, misplacing facts and wrong in most cases. He said the narrative of the widespread chaos in various parts of the country, which led to death of many security agents and civilians, destruction of private and public properties came far ahead of the Tuesday, 20th of October alleged shootings by soldiers at the Lekki Toll Gate.

Responding to a question on the programme, Adesina said: “You are not quite correct. You are falling for the narrative of Amnesty International. And Amnesty is wrong. Anarchy had broken loose before Lekki. The prisons in Benin and Oko had been broken open before Lekki. Orile police station had been burnt before Lekki. “Many policemen had been burnt before Lekki. So, you cannot say it was Lekki that precipitated all those things.

Look at the timelines, look at when all those things started. “You will discover that it had happened before Lekki. So, you are falling for the gambit of Amnesty International. “Amnesty International does not have all the facts, they don’t run this country.

They shouldn’t know beyond what they have been told. They shouldn’t know more than you and I should know as media people, as watchers of developments.” Asked if it was the president’s thinking that Amnesty’s report was wrong, the presidential spokesman said Amnesty International had been known to always make unsubstantiated reports about Nigeria. “Many times, the military has come out to dispute facts brought out by Amnesty,” he said.

The presidential spokesman revealed that his principal had ordered his ministers to submit reports of their engagements with stakeholders in their various states over the recent chaotic events following #EndSARS within the next week. The president, during the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, last week, directed the ministers to go to their home states and do everything to douse the tension across the country. However, only two ministers had their reports ready as at Wednesday when the week’s FEC meeting was convened, which made the president to order a mandatory submission of reports to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) within a week.

Disclosing this during the programme, Adesina said: “I can tell you because there was another FEC meeting yesterday (Wednesday), the president asked for briefs from ministers who went out.

“Only two had their reports ready as at Wednesday because some others were still in their respective states, carrying out their assignment. “So, the president said all of them should turn in their reports through the SGF in the incoming week.” Asked what to expect out of the reports, Adesina said: “Well, it can only be positive.

“One, it will help us to establish the truth to some things because there are a lot of conjectures, colourations, outright falsehoods, fake news and all that. “The ministers can come with what is near authentic based on the consultations they are going to make.”

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