A high-ranking Nigerian official has threatened to sanction a U.S. news network over its coverage of the #EndSARS protests in Lekki.
Lai Mohammed, the Minister for Information and Culture, called CNN’s investigation “fake news” and accused the network of spreading “misinformation.”
“Like everyone else, I watched the CNN report. I must tell you that it reinforces the disinformation that is going around, and it is blatantly irresponsible and a poor piece of journalistic work by a reputable international news organization,” he told reporters at a press conference in Abuja. “This is very serious and CNN should be sanctioned for that,” he said.
On October 20, Twitter was flooded with images of demonstrators in Lekki injured after allegedly being shot at by the military. There were even images of protesters who had been shot and killed, but the government maintained they did not fire live rounds at the protesters.
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu acknowledged to CNN that footage showed uniformed soldiers firing on peaceful protesters. He would only admit to two protestors being killed during the demonstrations — the unofficial death toll stands at 51.
Army representative Brigadier Ahmed Taiwo told the news outlet, “There’s no way officers and men will kill their brothers and sisters. I repeat no way. We have those who constantly seek to drive a wedge between us and between the citizens of Nigeria…”
Earlier this month, the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced it is conducting a probe into the recent #EndSARS protests in Nigeria, which resulted in at least 51 deaths and a slew of violence. The probe will “assess whether the legal criteria for opening an investigation under the Rome Statute are met.”