CNN’s investigation targeted on an illustration towards police brutality, led by the largely peaceable “#EndSARS” motion.
Minister for Information and Culture Lai Mohammed Thursday dismissed the CNN investigation as “fake news” and “misinformation,” repeatedly denying the navy used dwell rounds towards protesters.
“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,” he informed reporters at a press convention in Abuja, in the most vital federal authorities response thus far to the October 20 violence.
“This is very serious and CNN should be sanctioned for that,” he stated.
CNN stands by its investigation, an organization spokesperson stated.
“Our reporting was carefully and meticulously researched, and we stand by it,” the spokesperson stated by way of electronic mail.
The report was based mostly on testimony from dozens of witnesses, and pictures und Video obtained and geolocated by CNN. It painted an image of how members of the Nigerian military and the police shot at the crowd, killing not less than one particular person and wounding dozens extra.
CNN verified pictures and movies acquired from a number of eyewitnesses and protesters utilizing timestamps and different information from the video recordsdata. Video footage reveals troopers who seem like taking pictures in the path of protesters. And accounts from eyewitnesses established that after the military withdrew, a second spherical of taking pictures occurred later in the night.
Prior to publishing the report, CNN tried a number of occasions to elicit remark from the Nigerian military and police. A Lagos State police spokesman declined to remark due to an ongoing investigation. While a press release from the Lagos State authorities stated that there could be no remark whereas a judicial tribunal was underway.
CNN additionally included feedback from military consultant Brigadier Ahmed Taiwo, testifying earlier than the tribunal. He denied that troopers would shoot at Nigerian residents.
The investigation was broadcast and printed on Wednesday and forged doubt on Nigerian authorities’ shifting and altering statements over what occurred at the protest at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos.
Addressing reporters, Mohammed insisted that “the military did not shoot at the protesters at the toll gate” but fired clean ammunitions into the air, blaming looters for the violence which broke out on the evening of October 20.
“Six soldiers and 37 policemen were killed all over the country during the crisis,” Mohammed stated.
“CNN relied heavily on unreliable and possibly doctored videos as well as information sources from questionable sources to reach these conclusions,” he continued.
He didn’t present any evidence the movies had been doctored.
The CNN report included evidence that bullet casings from the scene matched these utilized by the Nigerian military when taking pictures dwell rounds, in line with present and former Nigerian navy officers.
Two ballistics consultants additionally confirmed with CNN that the form of the bullet casings point out they used dwell rounds, which contradicts the military’s declare they fired blanks.
While the Minister for Information and Culture asserted that “not a single family” has reported the loss of life of family throughout the protest on October 20, the Chief Coroner of Lagos State has since issued a public name for all those that have “lost loved ones between 19 — 27 October 2020” to return ahead and supply evidence which may help in the “identification exercise.”
During his press briefing on Thursday, the Minister denied stories of fatalities at the protest.
“As I said earlier, what started as a peaceful protest against police brutality quickly degenerated into incredible violence despite an immediate response to the demands by the government,” he stated.
“While we await the Judicial Panel in Lagos to unravel what transpired at the Lekki toll gate, what we can say, based on testimonies available in the public space, is that the world may have just witnessed, for the very first time ever, a massacre without bodies,” he added.
According to Mohammed, the National Economic Council (NEC) directed the “immediate establishment” of a state-based judicial panel of inquiry on October 15 — earlier than the Lekki toll gate incident, but after protests towards violence had begun — to research complaints of police brutality and extrajudicial killings.
Eyewitnesses have since informed CNN that the authorities’s feedback are “lies,” making them really feel as if that they had “hallucinated the whole event.”
“Haven’t they hurt us enough? I still close my eyes and see the blood and hear the screams,” one other eyewitness stated.
During the press convention, Mohammed stated the federal authorities continues to be “very satisfied” with the function performed by safety businesses — particularly the navy and police — by means of the protests.
CNN’s Stephanie Busari, Nima Elbagir, Gianluca Mezzofiore and Katie Polglase contributed to this report.