Cable News Network (CNN) has pushed back accusation by Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed that its investigation into the shooting at the Lekki Tollgate, Lagos is one-sided, saying it stands by the story.
“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.
CNN said that it did not rush to publish the report, noting that due processes were followed, which included thorough research.
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 Quashd 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.
The Nigerian Army admitted that soldiers were deployed at the venue where peaceful #EndSARS protesters had gathered on October 21, but claimed that nobody was killed.
The army stressed that only blank bullets were used to disperse the demonstrators.
Enraged by the investigative reporting, Mr Mohammed suggested that CNN should be sanctioned for publishing the report. The minister bemoaned that it was a one-dimensional report that lacked balance.
However, CNN insisted that its report showed that soldiers shot at the crowd of peaceful protesters, killing at least one and wounding dozens.
It noted that photos and videos acquired from multiple eyewitnesses and protesters were verified using timestamps and other data from the video files.
According to the news outfit, video footage shows soldiers shooting in the direction of demonstrators, 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, multiple efforts were made to get the reactions of army and police authorities, it added.
“A Lagos State police spokesman declined to comment because of an ongoing investigation. A statement from the Lagos State government said that there would be no comment while a judicial tribunal was underway,” CNN said.