International Cable News Network, CNN, said its report on the alleged shooting of #EndSARS protesters by soldiers at the Lekki toll plaza on October 20, 2020, was “carefully and meticulously researched”.
CNN stated this in a report on Thursday in response to comments by the Nigerian Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, that the news platform practised “irresponsible journalism” by relying on fake videos sourced from social media to produce its report.
CNN had published an investigative report this week claiming soldiers fired live ammunition directly at protesters at the Lekki toll gate, a claim which Mohammed denied on Thursday.
“Like everyone else, I watched the CNN report. I must tell you that it reinforces the disinformation that is going around, and it is blatantly irresponsible and a poor piece of journalistic work by a reputable international news organization,” Mohammed told reporters at a press conference in Abuja today.
“This is very serious and CNN should be sanctioned for that,” he added.
The PUNCH reports that the minister also described the event of October 20, 2020 as a “massacre without bodies”, insisting that not a single body has been produced or a single family has come out to claim their family member was killed at the Lekki tollgate.
Reacting today in another story titled, ‘Nigeria threatens CNN with sanctions but provides no evidence Lekki toll gate investigation is inaccurate’, the cable news network said it stand by its earlier report on the Lekki incident.
“Our reporting was carefully and meticulously researched, and we stand by it,” CNN stated.
It added, “The report was based on testimony from dozens of witnesses, and photos and video obtained and geolocated by CNN. It painted a picture of how members of the Nigerian army and the police shot at the crowd, killing at least one person and wounding dozens more.
“CNN verified photos and videos acquired from multiple eyewitnesses and protesters using timestamps and other data from the video files. Video footage shows soldiers who appear to be shooting in the direction of protesters. And accounts from eyewitnesses established that after the army withdrew, a second round of shooting happened later in the evening.
“Prior to publishing the report, CNN tried multiple times to elicit comment from the Nigerian army and police. A Lagos State police spokesman declined to comment because of an ongoing investigation. While a statement from the Lagos State government said that there would be no comment while a judicial tribunal was underway.”
The Lekki incident has been condemned locally and internationally by civil rights organisations.