Cable News Network (CNN) has reacted to comments by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, on its investigation into the shooting at the Lekki Tollgate in Lagos, saying that it did not rush to publish the report as it ensured due processes were followed, which included thorough research.
“Our reporting was carefully and meticulously researched, and we stand by it,” a spokesperson for the American-based news agency was quoted as saying in an email on Thursday.
Reacting to the minister’s comments in a post published on its website, CNN stated that the report, titled ‘How A Bloody Night Of Bullets And Brutality Quashed A Young Protest Movement’, was based on testimony from dozens of witnesses, as well as photos and video obtained and geolocated by the news agency.
While the Nigerian Army confirmed that soldiers were deployed at the venue where peaceful #EndSARS protesters had gathered on October 21, it insisted that nobody was killed.
BizWatch Nigeria recalls that the chief of army staff, Tukur Buratai, said men of the Nigerian Army are professionals in the discharge of their duties. He made the statement during his meeting with the House of Representatives committee on the Army at the force’s headquarters in Abuja, on Wednesday, he stated that the men under his command will never break the rules of engagement.
The army has continued to insist that no live ammunition was fired at the protest ground, stressing that only blank bullets were used to disperse the demonstrators.
Amid various reports and reactions sparked by the shooting, Mr Mohammed said CNN should be sanctioned for publishing the report.
The minister, who addressed reporters in Abuja a day after the report was published, stated that it was one-dimensional and lacked balance.
But the CNN, in its reaction, stressed that its report painted a picture of how soldiers shot at the crowd of harmless protesters, killing at least one person and wounding dozens more.
It explained that photos and videos acquired from multiple eyewitnesses and protesters were verified using timestamps and other data from the video files.