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.
FG Needs To Restrategise On War Against Insecurity, Osinbajo Admits
The Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, admitted that the nation needs to review its “conventional means” of dealing with security challenges.
He said the government needed to do more on “local intelligence” and community policing.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Vice-President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, in a statement, said Osinbajo spoke while answering questions from reporters on his arrival at Lafia, Nasarawa State, for a one-day official visit.
Akande made the transcript of the interview available in the statement titled, “Terrorist attack on farming community in Borno: We will do all it takes to secure Nigeria, Osinbajo says.”
Reacting specifically to the recent killing of more than 43 rice farmers in Borno State, Osinbajo said such an attack could not be prepared for through conventional means.
Akande quoted Osinbajo as saying that, “As the President said, this group of people acted insanely in such a dastardly manner, killing innocent people, people who had gone to their farms to work.
“I spoke to the Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum and the former governor, Senator Kashim Shettima, to express my condolence, but more importantly, to try and think through ways of dealing with this kind of random attacks.
“It’s important to understand also that we will probably need to keep reviewing the conventional means of dealing with some of these issues, these security challenges, especially the randomness.
“This is why the President has said that he is taking a serious look at how to deal with the issues, especially the randomness: some insane person go into a place and shoot people, that is not the sort of thing that you are prepared for conventionally.
“We have to do a lot more local intelligence and some of the community policing efforts we are planning on, so that information is supplied faster, especially at the local level and then a reaction will then be possible.
“It is a major tragedy; it’s a very unfortunate thing and our hearts are with the family of those who were killed in such a terrible manner.
“We are very confident and the Federal Government will continue to do what it needs to do especially in terms of trying to ensure security in the North-East and all over Nigeria.
“You’ve heard the President and what he has to say, especially some of the new ideas around security and the security architecture which we are trying to put in place. We will get there.”
Borno Killings: Fire Service Chiefs Now, Senate Tells Buhari …Reps Summon President
The Senate, yesterday, asked President Muhammadu Buhari, to sack service chiefs as a result of their failure to secure Nigerians.
The Senate decision, which is the third it would pass this year, followed a motion by Senator Kashim Shettima on the recent killing of 43 rice farmers in Borno State by the Boko Haram insurgents.
The Senate asked Buhari to replace the security chiefs with new ones “immediately”.
The red chamber also asked Buhari to restructure and remodel the nation’s security architecture.
Apart from that, the chamber demanded a probe into the allegations of corruption and financial leakage levelled against some top hierarchy of the military.
The Senate asked Buhari to aggressively negotiate with the nation’s neighbouring countries for multinational cooperation in order to strengthen the war against insurgency.
It directed the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, NEMA and NEDC to provide succour and psychological support for the families of the victims.
It also sought proper welfare for soldiers at the war front and proper resettlement and support for the families of the fallen soldiers.
It urged the federal and state governments to address issues fuelling insecurity.
It similarly called for massive recruitment into the military and the police force.
Similarly, the House of Representatives, yesterday, resolved to invite President Muhammadu Buhari to address members in plenary over the security crises across the country.
Before the decision, plenary at the House of Representatives had turned rowdy, as members were sharply divided over a motion seeking to invite Buhari to appear before the lawmakers to explain the rising spate of insecurity in the country.
The House was considering a motion moved by members from Borno State on the recent massacre of more than 43 rice farmers in the state by Boko Haram insurgents.
Part of the prayers was to invite Buhari to appear on the floor of the House and address the lawmakers in plenary.
Efforts by the Speaker, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila; Majority Leader, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa; and Chairman, House Committee on Air Force, Shehu Koko, among others, to have the prayer dropped proved abortive.
Gbajabiamila’s plea that a state of emergency be adopted instead was also rebuffed.
The speaker was forced to ask that the lawmakers have an executive (closed-door) session.
Emerging from the closed-door session, Gbajabiamila asked one of the sponsors of the motion, Ahmad Jaha, to make an amendment to the motion.
Jaha prayed the House to invite the president as proposed in the original motion.
By: Nneka Amaechi-Nnadi, Abuja
5m Jostle For Recruitment Into NIS, Civil Defence
The Federal Government has announced that aptitude tests for recruitment into the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) would be conducted on December 7 and 8, respectively.
Over two million Nigerians applied for vacancies in the two agencies under the Ministry of Interior.
In a statement issued yesterday by the Director of Press in the ministry, Alhaji Mohammed Manga, the exercise would be conducted in collaboration with the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB).
Manga said the conduct of the forthcoming Computer-Based Aptitude Test for recruitment into the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) was aimed at ensuring transparency, equity and justice in the
He said the partnership would provide all eligible and qualified Nigerians who applied for various posts in the services equal opportunity to be employed in line with the present administration’s policy thrust of ensuring transparency in the conduct of government business.
It would be recalled that the Minister of Interior and Chairman, Civil Defence, Correctional, Fire and Immigration Services Board (CDCFIB), Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, recently assured Nigerians that the ministry would ensure transparency in the recruitment processes in to the services, Manga stated.
To this end, the ministry has concluded arrangements with the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) to conduct the aptitude test for eligible candidates into the Nigeria Immigration Service on the 7th of December, 2020, while that of the NSCDC is expected to hold 8th December, 2020, in the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, he added.
Manga said, “the ministry has also worked out modalities to enable qualified candidates access the notification for the aptitude tests for CBAT from 6pm on 1st December, 2020, through their e-mail addresses and phone numbers.
“Accordingly, all candidates who applied for NIS are expected to visit the website of the service at https://immigrationrecruitment.org.ng while those who applied for NSCDC and subsequently updated their educational records are to visit https://cdfipb.careers to print individual letters of invitation.”
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