The Federal Government has threatened to sanction a foreign media outlet, Cable News Network (CNN), over its report on the alleged shooting of #EndSARS protesters by soldiers at the Lekki Toll Plaza on October 20, 2020.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who made this known at a press conference in Abuja, yesterday, described the report by the foreign news medium as “irresponsible journalism”.
He described the event of October 20, 2020, as a “massacre without bodies.”
Mohammed also insisted that not a single body has been produced or a single family has come out to claim their family member was killed at the Lekki Toll Gate.
The minister also alleged that CNN relied on social media video without verification to produce its report.
“Like everyone else, I watched the CNN report. I must tell you that it reinforces the disinformation that is going round, and it is blatantly irresponsible and a poor piece of journalistic work by a reputable international news organization.
“CNN engaged in incredible sensationalism, and did a great disservice to itself and to journalism.
“In the first instance, CNN, which touted its report as an exclusive investigative report, sadly relied on the same videos that have been circulating on social media, without verification.
“This is very serious and CNN should be sanctioned for that.
“CNN merely said the videos were ‘obtained by CNN’, without saying wherefrom and whether or not it authenticated them.
“Were CNN reporters and cameramen at the Lekki Toll Gate that evening? If the answer is no, on what basis were they reporting?
“If CNN had done its investigation properly, it would have known how fake news and disinformation were trending during the #EndSARS crisis.
“The BBC even did a report on this, and we recommend that report to CNN. Talking about the BBC, a reporter with the BBC’s Pidgin Service, Damilola Banjo, was at Lekki Toll Gate protest ground that night.
“She was quoted as saying soldiers were indeed at the Toll Gate but they shot ‘sporadically into the air’ and not at the protesters. CNN that was not at the scene reported otherwise.
“In its jaundiced reporting, CNN was blind to the fact that six soldiers and 37 policemen were killed in unprovoked attacks.
“Obviously, CNN did not consider the security agents human enough,” he said.
In reaction, the International Cable News Network (CNN) said its report on the alleged shooting of #EndSARS protesters by soldiers at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020, was “carefully and meticulously researched”.
CNN stated this in a report, yesterday, in response to comments by the Nigerian Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, that the news platform practised “irresponsible journalism” by relying on fake videos sourced from social media to produce its report.
CNN had published an investigative report this week claiming soldiers fired live ammunition directly at protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate, a claim which Mohammed denied, yesterday.
Reacting, yesterday in another story titled, ‘Nigeria threatens CNN with sanctions but provides no evidence Lekki Toll Gate investigation is inaccurate’, the cable news network says it stands by its earlier report on the Lekki incident.
“Our reporting was carefully and meticulously researched, and we stand by it,” CNN stated.
It added, “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 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.”
The Lekki incident has been condemned locally and internationally by civil rights organisations.
Rivers Monarchs Begin Another Round Of COVID-19 Vaccination, Today
Members of the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers will, today, begin another round of COVID-19 vaccination exercise in the state as part of the state government’s policy of ensuring that all Rivers people and residents of the state get fully vaccinated from the pandemic.
A statement signed by the Secretary to the council, Dr. Ogwuokwa Jonah, and made available to The Tide, last Monday, invited all government recognised traditional rulers to turn up at the council’s secretariat in Port Harcourt, for the crucial exercise.
The statement reads in part, “I am directed to invite you to take part in the forthcoming COVID-19 vaccination exercise scheduled for Wednesday,January 19 through Friday, January 21, 2022, at the council’s secretariat.
“Vaccination begins at 10.00am each day. Please, note that there are other free medical examinations that have been arranged for you during the period.
“You are entitled to 15 persons either from your family or area/district council. Kindly attend during the turn of your LGA”, the statement added.
According to the statement, Abua/Odual, Akuku-Toru, Ahoada-East, Ahoada-West, Andoni, Asari-Toru, Bonny and Degemawould receive their vaccinations today.
To be vaccinated tomorrow are traditional rulers and members of their families from Eleme, Emohua, Etche, Gokana, Khana, Ikwerre, Obio/Akpor and Oyigbo local government areas.
However, monarchs and their families from Opobo/Nkoro, Ogu/Bolo, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni, Okrika, Omuma, Port Harcourt and Tailocal government areas are due to get their shots on Friday.
The statement appealed to all affected traditional rulers to take the exercise seriously, and come along with the required number of persons to enable government reach as many Rivers people as possible.
By: Nelson Chukwudi
PDP’ll Surely Produce Next President -Ayu
The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Iyorchia Ayu has urged Nigerians to keep faith with the party as it was poised to produce the next president of the country.
He maintained that the current inept rule of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government, which has pulled the country backwards economically, has to be changed.
Ayu gave the assurance at the gala night hosted by the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike for PDP governors at the Banquet Hall of Government House, Port Harcourt, last Sunday night.
The PDP national chairman emphasised that the APC leadership has been unable to harness the rich diversity of Nigerians into better fortunes that should strengthen the bond of brotherhood and promote peaceful coexistence.
“Unfortunately, a very poor leadership has presented Nigeria at home and abroad as an extremely divided country.
“We must change this narrative, and the only way to change this narrative and harness not just the culture, but the environment and the richness therein, is to back the Peoples Democratic Party which is determined to produce a new leadership for this country.”
Ayu also enthused that Nigeria would bounce back again with the PDP at the saddle because the project of rescuing the country and making it great was realisable.
The PDP national chairman stated that the expected leadership they would offer at the national level would change the negative characteristics associated with the APC that have been used to deepen the divide among Nigerians in the country.
“The PDP will definitely produce the next president and take the country back to the days when we were in power, when we cleared all foreign debts, when we were developing this country at reasonable speed.
“At a time, we became the richest country on the African continent. But today, we are the poverty capital of the world. All that will change”, he said.
In his welcome address, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike said the gala night was a pride to the usual meeting of PDP governors, adding that it was rotational.
He stated that such meetings have always been used to discuss salient issues of economy, politics and others that bother on how to chart a virile Nigerian society.
“It has been ritual for PDP governors to gather and meet and discuss about the welfare of the party. And this has been rotating from one state to the other.”
On his part, the Chairman of PDP Governors Forum and Governor of Sokoto, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal said the PDP governors and other party leaders were already working in synergy towards rebuilding the party.
He said the focus was to rescue Nigeria, which would also require all Nigerians of goodwill to join forces with the PDP to achieve that goal.
“All Nigerians of goodwill who believe in this country, who believe Nigeria is going the wrong direction, ought to join us.
“And like I always say, there are two divides in Nigeria today. Those who are happy with the confusion because they are benefiting from what is happening at the centre, and those of us who are truly patriotic enough to disagree with the way our country is being governed and being run.
“I appeal and beseech every Nigerian, even those in APC that are patriotic enough, to join hands with us as we continue to march towards rescuing Nigeria together.
“I believe it is our responsibility to do so, not for ourselves but for our younger ones and generations unborn.”
Governors present at the gala night were, Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia); Ahmadu Fintiri (Adamawa); Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom); Mohammed Bala (Bauchi); Samuel Ortom (Benue); Seyi Makinde (Oyo); and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu).
Also in attendance were the deputy governors of Rivers and Zamfara, Dr Ipalibo HarryBanigo; and Aliyu Gusau; PDP National Secretary, Senator Sam Anyanwu; and several other dignitaries.
UPTH Begins Transplant Procedures In 2023 …Launches Five-Year Strategic Dev Plan
The management of University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) has said that the hospital would begin transplant procedures in 2023.
The UPTH said it was its desire and dreams to transform the hospital to a five-star hospital in the region.
The management said the infrastructure for the transplant procedures and Cardiac Unit would be completed soon.
The Chief Medical Director (CMD), UPTH, Prof. Henry Arinze Ugboma stated this during the official Hospital Strategic Development Plan Implementation Workshop and Roll Out held in the hospital Auditorium, in Choba, near Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
Ugboma said the Amenity Ward project was also mapped out in its five year strategic plan, which began from June, 2021 to 2026.
He noted that the hospital was ready to begin the transplant procedures as arrangements had been concluded for its take off next year.
Ugboma said as part of the commencement of the project, the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited had donated $500,000 to support the hospital.
“Transplant procedures are an important area we need to invest, as a hospital, such will be beneficial to the hospital and the society”.
The CMD said, as part of its capital projects in 2022, the hospital would change its aesthetics and make the hospital more beautiful.
“We shall change the aesthetics of the hospital to attract investors and beautify the environment”.
On the problems faced by the hospital, Ugboma said workers’ poor attitude to duty was a great challenge to the management.
“Work ethics, relationship to patients and visitors are not encouraging and must improve for a better hospital.
“If workers change, UPTH will grow faster.People come to work whenever they like and leave whenever they also like”, Ugboma said.
“You look for files, you will not see, most of our consultants are not always on duty call, there is no handover note amongst them”, he lamented.
He also said that part of the plan was to build residential quarters for staff of the hospital to enhance efficiency and productivity.
Earlier, the Board Chairman, UPTH, Muktar Anka, had appealed to the staff of the hospital to be diligent to duty and shun truancy.
Anka noted that a change in the attitude to work would enhance productivity and efficiency in the hospital.
The chairman insisted that idleness and truancy on duty promote bad attitudinal behaviours and tarnish the corporate image of the organisation.
By: Chinedu Wosu
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