CNN says it is standing by its report that soldiers used live bullets on #EndSARS protesters in Lagos.
On Wednesday, CNN published an investigation on the Lekki incident, alleging that soldiers used live rounds on protesters who had converged on Lekki tollgate on October 20.
The report had drawn the ire of the federal government who threatened to sanction CNN over “irresponsible reporting”.
At a press conference on Thursday Lai Mohammed, minister of information, described the alleged killings at the tollgate as “massacre without bodies”.
But in a statement on Thursday, CNN said the report was carefully and meticulously researched.
The news outlet said the report is based on multiple witness account, adding that the army and police declined calls to respond to the investigation before the story was published.
“Our reporting was carefully and meticulously researched, and we stand by it,” the statement read.
“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.”
In an earlier report today, SCOOPER disclosed that Lai Mohammed’s son, Folajimi who is also a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly has been outed by political analyst, Ndi Kato for allegedly admitting that #EndSARS protesters were attacked at Lekki Toll Gate.
In tweets shared shortly after the Minister of Information and Culture accused CNN of being irresponsible with their documentary and also calling for a sanction against the American media platform, Ndi Kato also attached a screenshot of an October 21 post in which Folajimi admitted that #EndSARS protesters were attacked by “yet-to-be identified gunmen”.
Folajimi wrote in the post; Protests of varying forms have been witnessed throughout the history of mankind and the onus has always been on the concerned authorities to address the causes of such protests all in a bid to foster a peaceful coexistence between the leadership and the followership of the society.
Historical peaceful protests such as that led by Mahatma Ghandi against forces of imperialism in India have since become the template for aggrieved citizens to make their requests known to the authorities.
In the last two weeks, a coalition of Nigerian youths have assembled in several locations across the country to demand an end to police brutality and other human rights violations which have become a prominent and conspicuous tendency among the security personnel.