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520 Suspects Arrested For Arson, Vandalism, Others In Lagos

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The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, on Tuesday, said 520 suspects have been arrested in connection with the series of arson, vandalism, burglary, and robbing of unsuspecting members of the public of their valuables during the unrest occasioned by the #EndSARS protest in the state.

Odumosu, who disclosed this during a press briefing at the command headquarters in the Ikeja area of the state, said the #EndSARS protest was hijacked by hoodlums, adding that the arrested suspects would be charged to court.

While stating the facilities affected in the state, the CP said, “A lot of public and private facilities were set ablaze, our police stations were also burnt and vandalized.

“Based on the incidences, the command swung into action realizing that this is no more #EndSARS, where lives and property are lost and vandalized and burnt. We realized that the protest had been hijacked by hoodlums, so we moved in and we were able to recover some of the stolen items and arrested the perpetrators.

“So far, 520 suspects have been arrested for various offenses, ranging from arson, robbery, murder, rioting, malicious damage, and unlawful possession of firearms. All the suspects we have arrested are not #EndSARS protesters and they will all be charged.”

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Nigerian Government Petitions CNN Over Lekki Shootings Report [Full Letter Attached]

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The Federal Government has berated US-based Cable News Network for its coverage of the #EndSARS protest in the Lekki area of Lagos saying “CNN breached the most basic of the core principles of journalism – balance and fairness.”

The government also demanded “an immediate and exhaustive investigation from CNN into its ‘investigative’ report on the Lekki Toll Gate incident to determine, among others, its authenticity.”

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, stated this in his letter to Jonathan Hawkins, VP (Communications) in CNN Centre Atlanta, Georgia.

The letter dated November 23 2020 entitled ‘Re: How a bloody night of bullets quashed a young protest movement’, was obtained by PorscheClassy News in Abuja on Monday.

The letter reads, “Our attention has been drawn to an ‘investigation’ by CNN, entitled ‘How a Bloody Night of Bullets Quashed a Young Protest Movement’ and aired on 18 Nov. 2020, in which the international news organization said it had ”uncovered that Nigerian security forces opened fire on unarmed protesters” at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, Nigeria, during the #EndSARS protest.

“We write to put on record that the report did not just fall short of journalistic standards, it reinforces the disinformation that is going around on the issue, it is blatantly irresponsible and it is a poor piece of journalistic work by a reputable international news organization.

“In the first instance, the report did not live up to the most basic of the core principles of journalism – balance and fairness. According to the website www.ethics.journalists.org, ”balance and fairness are classic buzzwords of journalism ethics: In objective journalism, stories must be balanced in the sense of attempting to present all sides of a story. Fairness means that a journalist should strive for accuracy and truth in reporting, and not slant a story so a reader draws the reporter’s desired conclusion.”

Read the full letter below:

 

23 Nov. 2020

Mr. Jonathan Hawkins

VP, Communications

CNN Centre

Atlanta, Georgia

U.S,

RE: HOW A BLOODY NIGHT OF BULLETS QUASHED A YOUNG PROTEST MOVEMENT

Our attention has been drawn to an ‘investigation’ by CNN, entitled ‘How a Bloody Night of Bullets Quashed a Young Protest Movement’ and aired on 18 Nov. 2020, in which the international news organization said it had ”uncovered that Nigerian security forces opened fire on unarmed protesters” at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, Nigeria, during the #EndSARS protest.

We write to put on record that the report did not just fall short of journalistic standards, it reinforces the disinformation that is going around on the issue, it is blatantly irresponsible and it is a poor piece of journalistic work by a reputable international news organization.

In the first instance, the report did not live up to the most basic of the core principles of journalism – balance and fairness. According to the website www.ethics.journalists.org, ”balance and fairness are classic buzzwords of journalism ethics: In objective journalism, stories must be balanced in the sense of attempting to present all sides of a story. Fairness means that a journalist should strive for accuracy and truth in reporting, and not slant a story so a reader draws the reporter’s desired conclusion.”

Rushing to air such a momentous story without presenting the government’s side is inexcusable and indefensible. CNN said it contacted over 100 protesters and family members, but did not speak to one official of Nigeria’s federal government. While CNN said there was no response from the army and that officials of Lagos State would not speak in view of the Judicial Panel that is investigating the matter, it did not say what effort it made to speak with any official of the federal government.

The truth is that CNN did not even attempt to reach the federal government. Nima Elbagir, who presented the report and most probably led the investigation, is conversant with the Minister of Information and Culture, who is also the Spokesman for the Federal Government of Nigeria, yet did not say that she even tried to reach the Minister. It is therefore strange, to say the least, that she would rush to air such an important ‘investigation’ report without getting the government’s side. In other words, Nima, and by extension CNN, breached the most basic of the core principles of journalism – balance and fairness.

Another serious breach by CNN, in its ‘investigation’, is that the network relied heavily on unverified footage it harvested from social media.

CNN was not present at the Lekki Toll Gate on the night of the incident. Neither its reporter nor cameraman was there, but it relied on eyewitnesses. Well, this is fraught with danger. While experts say eyewitness testimony is a potent form of evidence, it is also subject to unconscious memory distortions and biases, Unlike CNN, a reporter from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Pidgin Service, Damilola Banjo, was at the Lekki Toll Gate on the night in question, and was quoted as saying soldiers shot sporadically into the air and not at the protesters – a direct contradiction of the position taken by CNN who relied on second and third-hand information.

In airing its ‘investigative’ report, CNN conveniently forgot that on Oct. 23rd, 2020, it emphatically tweeted, from its verified Twitter handle, that the military killed 38 people when it opened fire on

peaceful protesters on Tuesday, Oct. 20th, 2020. Almost a month later, the same CNN – after a supposedly exhaustive investigation – is now reporting only one death from what the world was made to believe was a massacre. Is CNN not embarrassed by this sharp climb down? Has CNN owned up to this and apologized for its faux Paz?

It is also interesting that while CNN obtained footage showing when the vehicles carrying soldiers left their barracks and arrived at the Lekki Toll Gate, it could not obtain any footage showing the bodies of those supposedly killed in the ‘massacre’. After all, forensic ballistic experts will most likely testify that firing military-grade weapons into a crowd will not leave anyone needing a microscope to look for blood or bodies at the scene.

CNN has said it stands by its story, and that ”our reporting was carefully and meticulously researched”, This is baffling, considering that the story lacks fairness and balance, as we have pointed out, and that the organization relied heavily on manipulated social media videos. This resort to an escapist cliche seems more like a face-saving measure by an otherwise respectable news network caught in the blinding glare of ‘fake news and disinformation’ headlamps. Or how else does one explain the arrogant defense of an international news network that would not even respect the most basic principle of journalism?

One of CNN’s star eyewitnesses in its ‘investigative’ reporting is DJ Switch. Unknown to CNN, DJ Switch’s story on the Lekki Toll Gate shooting has changed several times. From claiming she counted 78 bodies of protesters who were supposedly killed by soldiers on the night of the Lekki Toll Gate incident, she has twice, at least, changed the casualty figure from 78 to 15 and then to 7, without a shred of evidence. CNN cannot pretend not to know that for anyone to act as a witness, his or her credibility must be unimpeachable. DJ Switch’s credibility does not meet that threshold.

In one of the social media videos of DJ Switch that was used by CNN (see attached link 1), the lady (DJ Switch) claimed she and some unnamed persons carried dead bodies and dropped them at the feet of the soldiers. She also claimed she spoke to their Commander before the soldiers threw the bodies into the vans. Curiously, for someone who was streaming live on Instagram during the Lekki Toll Gate incident, there was not a single video or picture of the dead bodies. Not even Godson (Uyi), another CNN star witness whose video was also used by the network, or any of the hundreds of protesters, all armed with smartphones, at the scene recorded a video or shot a picture of dead bodies being carried away by soldiers.

Talking of Godson, despite claiming to have analyzed hours of footage, it is curious that CNN conveniently left out key parts of Godson’s 57-minute, 5-second video (see attached link 2). For example, 13 minutes, 40 seconds into the video, there were voices, in street lingo, in the background telling Godson that the gunshots were not from the soldiers (na boys dey shoot, that na local gun sound….it’s boys, meaning touts and hoodlums, who are shooting.

That’s a local gun). Some 20 minutes,14 seconds into the video, Godson confirmed that the boys had brought out their guns and were shooting (local okay, he called it). Some 23 minutes, 14 seconds into the video, Godson said ‘wait, all these boys dey shoot’ (meaning gunshots rang out from the touts/hoodlums). CNN, in its rush to nail soldiers and tell a ‘radically different story’, conveniently left out these parts of the Godson video, which could have shown that armed hoodlums invaded the Lekki Toll Gate that night, and could have hit any of the protesters as they shot sporadically. This is clearly a ploy by the CNN reporter/presenter to manipulate viewers of its ‘investigative’ report and force them to draw the reporter’s desired conclusion! Another video showing an armed protester at the Lekki Toll Gate (see attached link 3) was apparently not among the footage reviewed by CNN!

It is shocking that all through its ‘investigation’, CNN did not for once mention the fact that six soldiers and 37 policemen were killed during the #EndSARS crisis, which also left 196 policemen injured, not to talk of the monumental destruction of government and private properties across the country. Instead, the network is fixated on the massacre that never happened. Are security agents not human beings too? Are they not entitled to the protection of their human rights?

For the record, this is not the first time that CNN has carried an inaccurate or hoax story about Nigeria. In February 2007, Nigeria accused CNN of staging one of its reports from the country’s Niger Delta region, showing gunmen holding 24 Filipinos hostage. Of course, CNN and it’s then Africa Correspondent Jeff Koinange flatly denied the charge, saying the network did not pay for any part of the report. Later, in an email reportedly sent to a friend, Mr. Koinange was quoted as saying: “Of course we had to pay certain people to get the story… You do not get such a story without bribing.” So much for denials!

As a form of remediation, Nigeria’s Federal Government demands an immediate and exhaustive investigation from CNN into its ‘investigative’ report on the Lekki Toll Gate incident to determine, among others, its authenticity, whether or not it met the basic standards of journalism and also the selective use of unverified social media videos to manipulate public opinion. While it is up to CNN to accede or not, please note that the Federal Government reserves the right to take any action within its laws to prevent CNN from aggravating the #EndSARS crisis with unprofessional, irresponsible, one-sided, inciting, and sensational reporting that is capable of pitching Nigerians against themselves and setting the country on fire.

 

Lai Mohammed

Hon. Minister

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BREAKING: Gunmen Kidnap Nigerian Minister’s Brother In Kano

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Babawuro Tofai, the younger brother of Sabo Nanono, minister of agriculture, has been abducted in Kano.

Gunmen had whisked the victim away from his family house in Gabasawa local government area of the state on Monday morning.

One of the aides of the minister confirmed the abduction, saying the gunmen struck around 10 am on Monday.

Abdullahi Haruna, police public relations officer in Kano, also confirmed the incident, saying the investigation was ongoing.

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Morale Booster: IGP Promotes 16 Slain Police Officers, 82,799 Others

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The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has approved the promotion of 82,779 junior police officers to their next ranks.

The force said the promotion of the officers comprising 56,779 Sergeants to Inspector, 17,569 Corporal to Sergeants, and 8,431 Constables to Corporal was part of the efforts at boosting the morale of personnel and repositioning the police for greater efficiency.

About 38 policemen were reportedly killed while many others were injured during the violence that rocked the country.

Those promoted on Monday also include 86 junior officers negatively impacted by the #EndSARS riots, 16 of whom got a special posthumous promotion while 70 others injured during the violence arising from the protests were equally elevated.

This was contained in a statement by the Force spokesman, DCP Frank Mba, titled ‘IGP promotes 82,779 junior officers.’

It read, “The IGP while congratulating the officers, charged them to see their promotion as a mark of additional responsibility and a call to rededicate themselves to their professional calling.

“He enjoined them to continue to carry out their duties diligently and in conformity with best practices and respect for the rights of the citizen. He noted that the promotion albeit, posthumously, of the officers who were killed by some #ENDSARS protesters is a symbolic gesture in recognition of the ultimate price they paid in the service of the nation.”

The statement further said the IG also promised to work with all relevant agencies, organs of government, and other stakeholders in driving a successful reform of the police for improved welfare and conditions of service “towards better service delivery to the people.”

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