CNN replies FG, stands by its Lekki shooting documentary

International Cable News Network (CNN) has responded to the discontent expressed by the Nigerian government over its documentary indicting soldiers of using live rounds on peaceful protesters at the Lekki toll gate.

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The news organization had on Wednesday published its finding of the October 20 incident in Lagos State, indicting security agencies of unprofessional conduct during the protests demanding extensive police reforms.

But in response, the government through its Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, described the report as a poor journalistic work captioning it massacre without bodies.

Mr Mohammed also demanded the news outlet be penalized over the documentary.

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But in a statement yesterday, the CNN said differed with the government stance saying its report was meticulously researched.

“Our reporting was carefully and meticulously researched, and we stand by it,” the Thursday statement read.

“The report was based on testimony from dozens of witnesses, and photos and video obtained and geolocated 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.

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“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.

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“While a statement from the Lagos State government said that there would be no comment while a judicial tribunal was underway,” it added.

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