International television station, CNN, has reacted to the Federal Government’s stance that it should be sanctioned over its report on the October 20 shooting incident at the Lekki Toll Gate, saying it stands by its report.
Addressing the press at the fortified Army Resource Center, Mambilla Barracks, Abuja, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Thursday described as jaundiced the CNN report that the military shot at peaceful protesters.
“CNN relied heavily on unverified and possibly-doctored videos, as well as information sourced from questionable sources, to reach its conclusion.
This should earn CNN a serious sanction for irresponsible reporting,” Mohammed said.
However, in a swift reaction on Thursday, a company spokesperson said CNN stood by its investigative report.
“Our reporting was carefully and meticulously researched, and we stand by it,” the spokesperson said via email.
According to CNN, the report was based on testimony from dozens of witnesses, and photos and video obtained and geo-located 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 said it 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 said it tried multiple times to elicit comment from the Nigerian army and police, without much success.