Presidency rejects Amnesty’s report on Lekki shootings
Written by MaryGift Sunday on October 29, 2020
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, has rejected the report by Amnesty International on the Lekki shootings.
Adesina, who is the President’s most senior spokesman, said on Thursday that Amnesty could not have more facts about the country than the Presidency which has a ‘helicopter view’ of things happening in the country.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme, Adesina said the looting and rioting were not caused by the military shootings because there was already violence before the Lekki incident.
Responding to a question on the Lekki shootings, he said, “You are not quite correct. You are falling for the narrative of Amnesty International. And Amnesty is wrong. Anarchy had broken loose before even 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. 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.”
When asked if it was the President’s thinking that Amnesty’s report was wrong, Adesina said the global watchdog 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.
When probed further as to whether the President approved the military action in Lekki as the commander-in-chief, Adesina said he would not want to undermine the work of the panel of inquiry looking into the matter.
Looting of warehouses caused by protests, not poverty
Speaking further on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme, Femi Adesina said the looting of warehouses and shops by hoodlums was not necessarily caused by poverty but by the pandemonium that accompanied the #EndSARS protests.
Adesina said attributing the looting to poverty was like justifying armed robbery.
“Criminality is criminality. Would it justify armed robbery because the man was poor? Would it justify armed robbery because the man didn’t have money? Just as you cannot justify armed robbery because a man was poor and took a gun to rob another person, you can’t also justify the looting,” he said.
Adesina claimed the protracted protests provided an atmosphere for looting to take place.
When challenged with the fact that Nigeria had become the poverty capital of the world, the President’s spokesman said the high level of poverty was caused by 60 years of mismanagement of public funds which could not easily be addressed in two years.
He said President Muhammadu Buhari was committed to leaving a legacy that would see that 100 million Nigerians are lifted out of poverty in the next 10 years.