The United States-based Cable News Network (CNN), said on Thursday its report on the October 20 shooting of #EndSARS protesters by soldiers in Lekki area of the state was “carefully and meticulously researched.”
The news platform had earlier this week published an investigative report on the incident and revealed that soldiers fired live bullets directly at the harmless protesters.
In his reaction to the report, the Nigerian Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, on Thursday morning, accused CNN of practicing “irresponsible journalism” by relying on fake videos sourced from social media to produce its report.
At a hurriedly convened press briefing in Abuja, he also described the incident as a “massacre without bodies,” insisting that not a single body has been produced or a single family come out to claim their family member was killed at the Lekki tollgate.
The minister said the news organisation would be sanctioned by the Nigerian government for undertaking a “ very poor piece of journalistic work.”
Reacting to the minister’s outburst in another story titled: “Nigeria threatens CNN with sanctions but provides no evidence that the Lekki tollgate investigation is inaccurate, CNN said it stand by its earlier report on the Lekki incident.
The new platform said: “Our reporting was carefully and meticulously researched, and we stand by it.
“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.”
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