From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has raised the alarm that Amnesty International and its ‘local collaborators’ have earmarked $750,000 to set up a parallel investigative panel to discredit the judicial panel investigating the alleged Lekki shootings and the alleged brutalities of the defunct Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS).
Addressing newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday, BMO Chairman Niyi Akinsiju further claimed that their modus operandi will include using people who will be identified as military men, with their faces masked, to present damaging testimonies against army authorities.
The BMO equally claimed that that the US-based Cable News Network (CNN), which has refused to appear before the Lagos panel on its investigative report on the Lekki incident, is bracing up to give full coverage to the gathering.
The BMO Chairman stated:
‘Let me welcome you to this press briefing on the latest antics of the Amnesty International and its local collaborators with intent at destabilising the country under the guise of setting up a parallel investigative panel on what they have described as human rights violations encountered, witnessed or heard during the recent EndSARS protests.
‘These local collaborators, operating under the guise of Coalition for Survival of Covid-19 and led by a prominent human rights lawyer, are bent on discrediting the judicial panel investigating the alleged Lekki shootings and the defunct SARS’ alleged brutalities.
‘On the surface, this COVID-19 coalition is supposedly on a mission to enrich ongoing investigations into ‘age-long abuses suffered by Nigerians in the hand of members of the defunct SARS in as many as 30 States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) where panels have been set up, but there is more to it than meets the eye.
‘These individuals who should have used the open platform of the judicial panel in Lagos to prove their claim of the massacre at the Lekki toll gate on October 20 are now colluding with Amnesty International which is still struggling to manufacture evidence of its allegations of a massacre that night by soldiers.
‘We have reasons to believe that this investigative panel which they intend to run parallel with the States’ Judicial Panel, is nothing short of a charade paid for by Amnesty International and Transparency Initiative to smear the image of the Nigerian Army with contrived testimonies,’ he noted.
Making more claims about Amnesty International and Transparency Initiative, the BMO sad that ‘a substantial fund running into US$750,000 (N360,000 000) has been provided and paid into an account outside the country. The information at our disposal is that the organisers are still expecting more funds for the hatchet job they have signed up for.
‘Their modus operandi will include using people who will be identified as military men, with their faces masked, to present damaging ‘testimonies’ against the army authorities.
‘We also have it on good authority that the United States’ Cable News Network (CNN), which blatantly refused to appear before the Lagos panel on its so-called investigative report on the Lekki incident is bracing up to give full coverage to the gathering.
‘We invite Nigerians to see how some of our countrymen have descended to the level of dragging their own country for wads of dollars, and advise Nigerians to reject these enemies of the nation and their self-serving mission.
‘We also urge security agencies to be alert to the antics of these lackeys of foreign bodies who rather than use their coalition for the purpose of galvanizing Nigerians to survive the negative impacts of COVID-19 and ensure equity is served through the ongoing public sittings of the judicial panels across the country, are more interested in helping their paymasters sustain the lies that they have been unable to prove for weeks.
‘We do not think the causes of patriotism and nationalism are served in this enterprise of a deliberate campaign of distortions and confusion that this parallel investigative panel would create.
‘On this note, we urge the Nigerian public to avail themselves of these revelations and to disregard the intended sensationalism that the parallel panel is purposed to generate,’ the BMO appealed to Nigerians.