Cable News Network (CNN) has given a response to comments by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, on its investigation into the shooting at the Lekki Tollgate in Lagos State.
It insisted 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, November 19, 2020.
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.
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.
Lai Mohammed, who had earlier 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.
According to the news outfit, video footage shows soldiers who appear to be 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.
It added that prior to publishing the report, multiple efforts were made to get the reactions of army and police authorities.
“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.