Cable News Network, CNN, has reacted to the Federal Government’s stance that it should be penalized for its reporting on the October 20 shooting incident at the Lekki toll gate, saying it supports their report.
Addressing the press in Abuja on Thursday, Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed described CNN’s report that the military fired at peaceful protesters as bitter. Mohammed described the report as a one-dimensional piece of irresponsible journalism.
“CNN relied heavily on unverified and possibly manipulated video, as well as information from questionable sources, to reach its conclusion. This should give CNN a serious penalty for irresponsible reporting, ‘Lai Mohammed said.
However, in a swift reaction Thursday, CNN defended the report and said it supports their investigation.
“Our reports were carefully and meticulously investigated, and we support them,” CNN said.
He said the report was based on the testimony of dozens of witnesses, and photos and videos obtained and geolocated by CNN.
CNN said it verified photos and videos acquired from multiple eyewitnesses and protesters using timestamps and other data from the video files.
Before publishing the report, CNN said it tried several times to obtain comment from the Nigerian army and police.
“A Lagos state police spokesman declined to comment due to an ongoing investigation, while a statement from the Lagos state government said there would be no comment while a judicial court was ongoing,” he said.
CNN also said it included comments from the army representative, Brigadier Ahmed Taiwo, who testified in court. “He denied that the soldiers shot at Nigerian citizens,” he added.
According to CNN, “The investigation was broadcast and published on Wednesday and cast doubt on the ever-changing and changing statements by the Nigerian authorities about what happened at the protest at the Lekki tollbooth in Lagos.
“The CNN report included evidence that the bullet casings at the scene matched those used by the Nigerian military when firing actual rounds, according to current and former Nigerian military officials.
“Two ballistics experts also confirmed with CNN that the shape of the bullet casings indicates that they used real rounds, contradicting the Army’s claim that they fired blank rounds.”