The Cable News Network (CNN), has responded to Federal Government’s labelling of its report on its investigation of the shooting of peaceful ENDSARS protesters allegedly by security operatives as ‘irresponsible journalism’.
The American media outlet had, in its report on the shooting of ENDSARS protesters, confirmed that live bullets were fired at the demonstrators at Lekki Toll Gate Plaza in Lagos on October 20, 2020.
Contrary to the claims by the government that nobody was killed, it also unveiled the identity of a protester named Victor Sunday Ibanga, who reportedly died on the night of the shootings.
But Lai Mohammed, Minister of information, in a press conference on Thursday, insisted that not a single body had been produced or a single family come out to claim their loved ones were killed at the Lekki Toll Gate Plaza.
Mohammed further called for a sanction for the foreign media organisation but did not make clear where the sanction should come from.
Responding in a statement on Thursday, CNN said the report was carefully and meticulously researched.
The news outlet said the report is based on multiple witness account, adding that the army and police declined calls to respond to the investigation before the story was published.
“Our reporting was carefully and meticulously researched, and we stand by it,” the statement read.
“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.”