… FG will sanction CNN for poor reporting on protests
… .DJ Swift is not wanted by the military
… .Human rights groups must show concern for the lives of security personnel, pleads the minister
By Soni Daniel and Emma Ujah
On Thursday, the federal government challenged #EndSARS campaign promoters who accused soldiers of massacring innocent, peaceful and unarmed protesters at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos last month to present evidence of the mass murder or to shut up. .
The government accused the promoters of the violent protest of using social media and fake news to cause chaos in the country under the guise of peaceful protests.
The government’s position was the focus of the press conference given by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alh. Lai Mohammed, in Abuja.
He insisted that the claim of a massacre at the Lekki tollbooth was false and that attempts by protesters and some human rights groups to tarnish the country’s image using fake news and other disparaging tactics do not and cannot change the fact.
The minister insisted that the military simply fired blank ammunition into the air and not even at the protesters at the toll gate to drive them away after the police and another security era.
“While the Judicial Panel sitting in Lagos works to unravel what actually happened at the Lekki toll gate, the evidence available so far points to the world’s first case of MASSACRE WITHOUT BLOOD OR BODIES,” said the minister, challenging those who they affirm the massacre to “show evidence before the panel or be silent”
“The Federal Government is very satisfied with the role played by the security agencies, especially the military and the police, throughout the EndSARS crisis. The security officers were professional and measured in their response. Even when their lives were at stake, they exercised rare restraint, “he added.
Alh. Mohammed lamented that #EndSARS promoters and human rights activists did not show empathy for several security personnel who were killed and injured in the chaos by thugs who hijacked the protests.
He said: “Your professionalism and measured response saved many lives and property. For example, despite arresting hordes of looters during the violence in Lagos, the army treated them humanely and even counseled them before handing them over to the police.
“The same cannot be said of those who unleashed chaos on security agents, killing and maiming them, sometimes in such a barbaric way that it is unprecedented in these parts. As I said before, six soldiers and 37 policemen died throughout the country during the crisis. This is in addition to the 196 police officers who were injured; 164 police vehicles that were destroyed and 134 police stations that were razed ”.
The minister, who failed to pass a clean health law on the handling of protesters by security agencies, said: “At this point, it is important to say that the Federal Government is very satisfied with the role played by the security agencies, especially the military and police, during the EndSARS crisis.
“The security officers were professional and measured in their response. Even when their lives were at stake, they exercised uncommon restraint. His professionalism and measured response saved many lives and property. For example, despite arresting hordes of looters during the violence in Lagos, the army treated them humanely and even counseled them before handing them over to the police.
The same cannot be said of those who unleashed chaos on security officers, killing and maiming them, sometimes in such a barbarous way that it is unprecedented in these parts. As I said before, six soldiers and 37 policemen died throughout the country during the crisis. This is in addition to the 196 police officers who were injured; 164 police vehicles destroyed and 134 police stations razed.
“In addition, the Nigerian Civil Defense and Security Corps, the Nigerian Customs Service and the Nigerian Immigration Service lost infrastructure, equipment and other valuables to attacks by thugs during the crisis. Eight medium security custody centers in six states (Edo, Lagos, Abia, Delta, Ondo and Ebonyi) were attacked, with 1,957 inmates released and 31 employees injured.
“Therefore, the Federal Government will not accept a situation in which some of the so-called resentful human rights organizations and media will continue to harass the security agencies for their role during the crisis. Soldiers, police officers and other security officers deserve praise, not condemnation, except, of course, that their critics say they are not human beings and that their own rights do not matter.
“It is depressing and demoralizing to continue to vilify men and women in uniform, who themselves were victims of senseless violence unleashed by thugs. The role of human rights organizations, in particular, became suspect after they simply ignored the brutal murder and maiming of security officers during the crisis, as well as the orgy of violence that left 57 civilians dead, 269 private / corporate facilities burned / looted. / vandalized, 243 government facilities burned / vandalized and 81 government warehouses looted, and instead continued to live in the bloodless and disembodied ‘massacre’ at Lekki Toll Gate.
They saw nothing wrong with the public and private properties that were burned or looted, nor did they see anything wrong with the fact that some of the businesses looted belonged to struggling young men and women. All they could see in their biased view of the whole situation was a deceptive massacre, ”said the minister.
DJ SWITCH is not wanted, but no law prevents FG from investigating anyone in Nigeria
The minister also dispelled an EndSARs activist DJ Swift’s claim that the government was looking for her and that her life was in danger as a result of the role she played during the protest, asking her to stop producing falsehoods against Nigeria. .
Mohammed said: “Even in the alleged Lekki Toll Gate massacre, one of the providers of fake news and disinformation during the EndSARS crisis was DJ Switch, whose real name is Obianuju Catherine Udeh, who claimed to have authentic evidence of mass killings. Surprisingly, instead of presenting the evidence that he might have before the Judicial Panel, he chose to flee the country under the pretext that his life was in danger.
“I ask: in danger from whom? The military has come out to say that they never looked for her. As far as we know, the police never declared her wanted. Their conduct thus becomes suspicious. Who is it up against? What is your real motive? Who are your sponsors? If you have any evidence of murders, why not present it to the Panel?
If you were so desperate for asylum in any country, do you have to resort to outright falsehood to tarnish the country’s image just to achieve your goal? In the fullness of time, this lady will be exposed for what she is, a fraud and a front of divisive and destructive forces. At this juncture, we want to appeal to countries that have hurried judgments based on fake news and misinformation emanating from the EndSARS crisis to strive to seek and find the truth, ”he said.
FG will sanction CNN
The minister said CNN’s report on the EndSARS protest was not factual and asked the media company to sanction erroneous reporters on the matter, noting that the Nigerian government, for its part, would take the necessary steps to punish to the international news organization, although it did not say what the nature of the punishment would be or when it would be applied.
He said: “CNN scoffed at his preconceived position that the soldiers who were deployed at Lekki Toll Gate in fact fired at the protesters, killing some of them. CNN relied heavily on unverified and possibly manipulated videos, as well as information obtained from questionable sources, to reach its conclusion. This should give CNN a serious penalty for irresponsible reporting.
“Like everyone else, I saw the CNN report. I must tell you, it reinforces the misinformation that is circulating, and is blatantly irresponsible and a poor journalistic work from a reputable international news organization.
“CNN engaged in incredible sensationalism and did itself and journalism a disservice. 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 penalized for it. CNN simply said that the videos were “obtained by CNN,” without saying where and whether or not it authenticated them. Were CNN reporters and cameramen at Lekki’s toll gate that night? If the answer is no, on what basis did they report? Trust second or third hand information and present it as “CNN Research”?
Why didn’t CNN balance its story by showing Brig.-Gen’s compelling testimony? Taiwo before the Judicial Panel in Lagos? Is this one-sided information what is expected of an international media organization or any serious news organization? If CNN had done its research correctly, it would have known how fake news and misinformation were trending during the EndSARS crisis.
By broadcasting its so-called investigative report, CNN conveniently forgot that on October 23, 2020, it tweeted, from its verified Twitter account, that the military killed 38 people when it opened fire on peaceful protesters on Tuesday, October 20, 2020. Less than a month later, CNN itself, in what it called an EXCLUSIVE report based on a replay of unverified old videos, could only confirm that one person died in the same incident.
“In its reports on jaundice, CNN did not see the fact that six soldiers and 37 policemen were killed in unprovoked attacks. Obviously, CNN did not consider the security officers humane enough. CNN, in its “investigation,” did not see the rampant destruction of property in Lagos and across the country.
Furthermore, CNN was blind to the burning of police stations and vehicles across the country. Instead, he went into town with unverified social media recordings, desperate to prove that people died at the Lekki toll gate. Again, this is irresponsible journalism for which CNN deserves to be sanctioned. We insist that the military did not fire on the protesters at Lekki Toll Gate. Blank ammunition was fired into the air. Again, anyone who knows someone who was killed at the Lekki Toll Gate should go to the Judicial Panel with conclusive evidence of it. “
The minister revealed that two of the three broadcasters fined by the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission have paid their fine in full, and the third has paid part.
He insisted on regulating social media in the country as, according to him, its misuse was largely responsible for the large-scale violence after the EndSARS protest.
According to him, “The irresponsible use of social media by some unscrupulous people compounded the violence that erupted in the wake of the EndSARS protest and helped precipitate the violence. While the government has no plans to shut down the internet, it will work with stakeholders to regulate social media to curb abuse. “