The Nigerians in Diaspora Monitoring Group (NDMG), Ohio, United States, have called on the United Nation, United States, United Kingdom and other nations to withdraw their statements that appeared to taunt the Nigerian government over the Lekki tollgate shooting.
With overwhelming evidence now rubbishing supposed massacre in Lagos State, the NDMG said it is logical for the international community to apologise to the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government.
The Nigerians in Diaspora Monitoring Group made this known in a statement signed by its President, Erasmus Kuti on Friday.
Like the rest of the world, the NDMG admitted that it reacted with disgust over the alleged shooting of peaceful #EndSARS protesters by the Nigerian Army.
However, it said that sentiment changed after the actual picture of the incident surfaced.
According to the group, the peddlers of the fake news carefully “planned, selected, manipulated and curated the photographs and videos that were used to mislead key decision-makers across the globe”.
While mourning lives lost in the violence that erupted afterwards, the NDMG said all actors in the ugly saga must be held to book.
The group said the country has been the hapless victim of fake news, hence the need for nations to withdraw their earlier statements.
Read the full statement below:
The Nigerians in Diaspora Monitoring Group, Ohio Chapter – United States condemns in its totality the use of fake news by protesters to discredit the Federal Government of Nigeria and Nigerians over the so-called Lekki Massacre, which emerging evidence are now disproving.
Like other distraught people and organizations worldwide, NDMG-Ohio had expressed its outrage on the night of Tuesday, October 20, 2020, when the so-called massacre took place because it had believed that the Nigerian Army fired into the protesters. We have however found out upon further probing that we were sold a lie, especially after the Governor of Lagos state confirmed that there was no death resulting from the incident.
We had, with trepidation, expected to be confronted with images of a killing field by the dawn of the following day, but all that was available to see were the recirculated videos of soldiers shooting into the air. When pressed for further evidence, the people we contacted redirected us to photographs that turned out to be that of an actor carrying a female draped in Nigeria flag and that of another actor in the National Youth Service Corps uniform. Some of the other images turned out to be those of accidents victims that were unconnected with the shooting.
The bottom fell out for us when some of the people we have tallied as killed at the Lekki Toll Gate turned up alive and refuting news of their demise as the handiwork of evil-minded people. Furthermore, the NGO that championed the story about the removal of CCTV camera before the attack, EiE through its leader, Yemi Adamoleku has recanted and now admitted that what was removed from the Lekki Toll Plaza before the pandemonium was license plate verification cameras that the operators of the facility took away for safekeeping when they got words that the protesters had concluded to vandalize the structure the following day. Even the electricity outage that triggered the pandemonium has now been flagged as potential sabotage carried out by criminally minded people among the protesters while questions are now been asked if some people within the protest shot into the crowds since the soldiers were only seen firing into the air.
We find it appalling that the entire world was thrown into a Federal Government of Nigeria-hating hysteria because of a well-coordinated campaign of fake news. Those who ran this attack of fake news did not do it as an afterthought, but they had carefully planned, selected, manipulated and curated the photographs and videos that were used to mislead key decision-makers across the globe. They had also positioned celebrities and activists that were commissioned to trend the misleading multimedia. Unfortunately, major partners of Nigeria – United States, United Kingdom, Canada, the United Nations amongst others have announced decisions based on the lies amplified by the fake news. It is sadder still that old ethnic wounds were reopened in the aftermath of the Lekki incident, leading to an orgy of arson that targeted the property and business interests of certain persons.
Our thoughts are with families who lost loved ones and those that have sustained injuries since the #EndSARS protests began. We believe that no human life should be wrongly lost on account of any incident, not even when the person is guilty of what is erroneously called ‘capital crime’; we also fully identify with the legitimate demand for an end to police brutality and had expressed our support for same. But all actors in this ugly saga must hold those who instigated and promoted violence to account irrespective of what excuse they hide under. Side by side with addressing the demands of the protesters, authorities should hold those that engaged in arson or caused the loss of life to account in addition to punishing any errant soldier or police caught abusing people’s rights.
We, therefore, demand that the Federal Government works with the Lagos State government to unravel what transpired at Lekki Told Gate on October 20, 2020, because it was the night some criminals almost left us without a country.
NDMG-Ohio further calls on the United Nations, United States, United Kingdom, Canada and all international partners to withdraw their earlier statements that criminalize the government and people of Nigeria as there was no massacre at Lekki Toll Plaza or any other location in Nigeria. The country has rather been the hapless victim of fake news.