ENDSARS : FG Writes CNN, Demands Probe Of Lekki Report
here was no response from the Nigerian Army and officials of Lagos State government would not speak against the backdrop that a Judicial Panel was investigating the matter, CNN did not state what effort was made to speak with any official of the federal government.
The Information Minister said Nima Elbagir, who presented the report and most probably led the investigation, is conversant with him as the spokesman for the federal government of Nigeria, yet did not say that she even tried to reach him as the Minister of Information.
He said it was therefore strange, to say the least, that Elbagir would rush to publish such an important investigative reportwithout getting the government’s side.Mohammed in other words, Elbagir and by extension CNN, breached the most basic of the core principles of journalism of balance and fairness.
Another serious breach by CNN, in its ‘investigation’, according tothe minister, is that the network relied heavily on unverified footages it harvested from social media, adding that CNN was not present at the Lekki Toll Gate on the night of the incident. headtopics.com
Noting that neither its reporter nor cameraman was there, but it relied on eyewitnesses, Mohammed said, “Well, this is fraught with danger. While experts say eyewitness testimony is a potent form of evidence, it is also subject to unconscious memory distortions and biases, Unlike CNN, a reporter from
the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Pidgin Service, Damilola Banjo, was at the Lekki Toll Gate on the night in question, and was quoted as saying soldiers shot sporadically into the air and not at the protesters – a direct contradiction of the position taken by CNN who relied on second and third-hand information.”
He also noted that while CNN obtained footage showing when thevehicles carrying soldiers left their barracks and arrived in theLekki Toll Gate, it could not obtain any footage showing the bodies of those supposedly killed in the ‘massacre’. The minister said forensic ballistic experts will most likely testify
that firing military-grade weapons into a crowd will not leave anyone needing a microscope to look for blood or bodies at the scene.The letter reads in part: “Our attention has been drawn to an ‘investigation’ by CNN, entitled ‘How a Bloody Night of Bullets headtopics.com
Quashed a Young Protest Movement’ and aired on 18 November, 2020, in which the international news organization said it had ”uncovered that Nigerian security forces opened fire on unarmed protesters” at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, Nigeria, during the #EndSARS protest.
“In airing its ‘investigative’ report, CNN conveniently forgot that on23 October, 2020, it emphatically tweeted, from its verified Twitterhandle, that the military killed 38 people when it opened fire onpeaceful protesters on 20 Tuesday, October, 2020.
“Almost a month later, the same CNN – after a supposedly exhaustive investigation – is now reporting only one death from what the world was made to believe was a massacre. Is CNN not embarrassed by this sharp climbdown? Has CNN owned up to this and apologized for its faux paz?
“CNN has said it stands by its story, and that ”our reporting wascarefully and meticulously researched”, This is baffling, considering that the story lacks fairness and balance, as we have pointed out, and that the organization relied heavily on manipulated social media videos. headtopics.com
“This resort to an escapist cliche seems more like a face-savingmeasure by an otherwise respectable news network caught in theblinding glare of ‘fake news and disinformation’ headlamps. Or how else does one explain the arrogant defence of an international news network that would not even respect the most basic principle of journalism?
“One of CNN’s star eyewitnesses in its ‘investigative’ reporting is DJ Switch. Unknown to CNN, DJ Switch’s story on the Lekki Toll Gate shooting has changed several times. From claiming she counted 78 bodies of protesters who were supposedly killed by soldiers on the night of the Lekki Toll Gate incident, she has twice, at least, changed the casualty figure from 78 to 15 and then to 7, without a shred of evidence.
“CNN cannot pretend not to know that for anyone to act as a witness, his or her credibility must be unimpeachable. DJ Switch’s credibility does not meet that threshold.”He further noted that in one of the social media videos of DJ Switch that was used by CNN, the lady (DJ Switch) claimed she and some unnamed persons carried dead bodies and dropped them at the feet of the soldiers.
Mohammed said she also claimed she spoke to their Commander before the soldiers threw the bodies into the vans.He continued: “Curiously, for someone who was streaming live onInstagram during the Lekki Toll Gate incident, there was not a single video or picture of the dead bodies.
“Not even Godson (Uyi), another CNN star witness whose video was also used by the network, or any of the hundreds of protesters, all armed with smartphones, at the scene recorded a video or shot a picture of dead bodies being carried away by soldiers.
“Talking of Godson, despite claiming to have analyzed hours offootage, it is curious that CNN conveniently left out key parts ofGodson’s 57-minute, five-second video (see attached link 2). Forexample, 13 minutes, 40 seconds into the video, there were voices, in street lingo, in the background telling Godson that the gunshots were not from the soldiers (na boys dey shoot, that na local gun sound….it’s boys, meaning touts and hoodlums, who are shooting. That’s local gun).
“Some 20 minutes, 14 seconds into the video, Godson confirmed that the boys had brought out their guns and were shooting (local okah, he called it). Some 23 minutes, 14 seconds into the video, Godson said ‘wait, all these boys dey shoot’ (meaning gunshots rang out from the touts/hoodlums).
“CNN, in its rush to nail soldiers and tell a ‘radically differentstory’, conveniently left out these parts of the Godson video, which could have shown that armed hoodlums invaded the Lekki Toll Gate that night, and could have hit any of the protesters as they shot sporadically.
“This is clearly a ploy by the CNN reporter/presenter to manipulate viewers of its ‘investigative’ report and force them to draw the reporter’s desired conclusion! Another video showing an armed protester at the Lekki Toll Gate (see attached link 3) was apparently not among the footage reviewed by CNN!”
Mohammed further said it was shocking that all through its‘investigation’, CNN did not for once mention the fact that sixsoldiers and 37 policemen were killed during the #EndSARS crisis, which also left 196 policemen injured, not to talk of the monumental destruction of government and private properties across the country.
He said instead, the network was fixated on the massacre that never happened, just as he wondered whether the security agents are not human beings too or are not entitled to the protection of their human rights.For the record, he said this was not the first time the CNN was carrying an inaccurate or hoax story about Nigeria.
“In February 2007, Nigeria accused CNN of staging one of its reports from the country’s Niger Delta region, showing gunmen holding 24 Filipinos hostage. Of course, CNN and its then Africa Correspondent Jeff Koinange flatly denied the charge, saying the network did not pay for any part of the report. Later, in an email reportedly sent to a friend, Mr Koinange was quoted as saying: “Of course we had to pay certain people to get the story… You do not get such a story without bribing.” So much for denials!
“As a form of remediation, Nigeria’s Federal Government demands an immediate and exhaustive investigation from CNN into its ‘investigative’ report on the Lekki Toll Gate incident to determine, among others, its authenticity, whether or not it met the basic standards of journalism and also the selective use of unverified social media videos to manipulate public opinion.
“While it is up to CNN to accede or not, please note that the Federal Government reserves the right to take any action within its laws to prevent CNN from aggravating the #EndSARS crisis with unprofessional, irresponsible, one-sided, inciting and sensational reporting that is capable of pitching Nigerians against themselves and setting the country on fire”.
16 Policemen Killed During Protest Get Posthumous Promotion Meanwhile, the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu, has given posthumous promotion to 16 policemen killed during the recent #EndSARS protests across the country.The IGP also approved the promotion of 82,763 policemen, bringing the number of junior police officers promoted to their next ranks to 82,779.
Force PRO, DCP Frank Mba, explained that the promotion of the officers comprising 56,779 Sergeants to Inspector, 17,569 Corporal to Sergeants and 8,431 Constables to Corporal, was part of the ongoing efforts at boosting the morale of personnel and repositioning the Force for greater efficiency.
He said, “Those promoted also include 86 junior officers negatively impacted by the #EndSARS protest – 16 got special posthumous promotion while 70 others injured during the violence arising from the #EndSARS protests were equally specially promoted.”
The IGP, while congratulating the officers, charged them to see their promotion as a mark of additional responsibility and a call to rededicate themselves to their professional calling.He enjoined them to continue to carry out their duties diligently and in conformity with best practices and respect for the rights of the citizen.
He noted that the promotion albeit, posthumously, of the officers who were killed by some #EndSARS protesters is a symbolic gesture in recognition of the ultimate price they paid in the service of the nation. Read more: LEADERSHIP Newspaper »