CNN has criticized the Lagos State government’s security camera footage of the Lekki toll gate shooting, saying “the Lagos State government’s security camera footage did not capture everything” and queried why “surveillance video from the evening does not provide a more complete picture.”
The international media organisation had last week released an investigative report that alleged that the Nigerian army used live bullets on protesters during its intervention in the #EndSARS protest at Lekki tollgate in Lagos state.
In its latest report, the media outfit said “the footage corroborates the timings CNN reported for the gunshots fired by the army. It also shows soldiers approaching protesters and firing shots.”
CNN said it obtained a copy of the CCTV footage ahead of the Justice Doris Okuwobi Lagos judicial panel’s sitting on Saturday which was set up to investigate cases of brutality by members of the disbanded special anti-robbery squad (SARS) and other police abuses. as well as the Lekki shooting incident.
“What is perhaps most notable is what’s missing, at 6:47 p.m., the moment when CNN has video of the army appearing to fire directly at protesters, the surveillance camera pans away from the area.
“The surveillance camera pans left and tilts up before reframing and struggling for focus. It is unclear if the camera pans away deliberately or whether the pan away is a poor choice by the CCTV operator,” CNN’s latest report read.
The Lekki Concession Company (LCC), the firm that operates the toll gate had previously testified before the panel and said its staff were sent home before an evening curfew, and also said the cameras at the tollgate stopped recording from 8 pm on October 20.
CNN also accused Brigadier Ahmed Taiwo, the Commander of the 81 Division of the Nigerian Army of providing contradicting testimonies to the judicial panel.
“For the protection of the force, we carried live bullets in case they were attacked. But the soldiers who formed the firing team, who fired as you could see in the video […] carried magazines charged with blank ammunition,” General Taiwo said.
On Monday, the Nigerian government called out CNN in a petition demanding an “immediate and exhaustive investigation” into its report on the shooting of #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki toll gate to determine its authenticity.
The country’s Minister of information and Culture, Lai Mohammed also warned that the government reserved the right to prevent CNN from “aggravating the #EndSARS crises with unprofessional, irresponsible reporting” that could set the country on fire.
By Abel Ejikeme