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BIG STORY

CNN Retracts Initial Report Soldiers Killed 38 At Lekki Tollgate During #EndSARS Protest

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The Cable News Network has retracted its initial report, which said operatives of the Nigerian Army killed 38 persons at the Lekki Tollgate in Lagos State on October 20, 2020.

The international broadcaster did this a double retraction on its Twitter handle it titled: “Clarification.”

In the “Clarification,” CNN said it did not attribute the death toll to Amnesty International and also failed to say in the report that the 38 persons killed were not just at the Lekki tollgate but across the country during the #EndSARS protest.

It tweeted: “Clarification: This tweet from October 23 did not attribute the death toll from protests in Nigeria to Amnesty International. The tweet also did not make it clear that the death toll was for protests across the country.”

But it did both in its tweets and reports anchored by Stephanie Busari on the incident as attached to this report.

Though the first paragraph of the amended story on the incident on October 22, 2020, said the reported 38 deaths on October 20, 2020, was nationwide, what it tweeted on October 23, 2020, was that the military did the killing that day.

In that same first paragraph of the story, the international broadcaster attributed its source of death of 56 persons to Amnesty International, a position it then retreated in the early hours of Friday.

It wrote in the story, which video link is also attached: “At least 56 people have died across Nigeria since the #EndSARS protests began on October 8, with 38 killed across the country on Tuesday alone, according to human rights group Amnesty International.”

The Nigerian Government had through the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, written a protest letter to the Management of CNN complaining about the authenticity of a report that put together various videos of the Lekki Tollgate shooting.

However, CNN followed it up with Part 2 of the report.

The Nigerian Army had also disputed both the initial report on the October 20, 2020 shooting and the two parts report on the video evidence CNN claimed justified its position on the shooting incident.

Reactions to the “Clarification” by CNN had been pouring in since it was done at about 10:05 pm Nigerian time on Thursday.

However, the broadcaster has not said anything on the two parts report that followed in the last week.

BIG STORY

Imo Recovers ‘Looted’ Public Equipment In Okorocha’s Warehouse

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Imo State Government on Thursday said it has recovered missing Nsu ceramic and tiles industry equipment in a warehouse believed to be owned by former Governor Rochas Okorocha.

Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Simon Ebegbulem, who led a team to the warehouse located along Owerri/ Aba Road, said the equipment were stacked with other public-owned facilities.

He named a molder as one of the items which, according to him, were looted for the establishment of a private ceramic and tiles company by Okorocha, a serving senator and former chairman of the All Progressives Governors’ Forum.

The Nsu Ceramic and Tiles Industry in Ehime Mbano was established by the administration of the late Sam Mbakwe, the first civilian governor of old Imo State.

Ebegbulem said: “The said 55-feet by the 200-length warehouse is adjacent another warehouse where the then Emeka Ihedioha administration discovered some public properties said to be owned by the state.

”There was a time the administration of Hope Uzodimma raised the alarm on the equipment of Nsu Ceramic and Tiles Industries looted by the administration of Rochas Okorocha. That was after some patriotic citizens of the state raised the alarm on these looted Imo properties kept by the Okorochas along Owerri/Aba Road.

”We followed up to find out the truth and with what we have seen in Okorocha’s warehouse; there is a plan by Okorocha to set up a ceramic factory with government-owned properties as a personal factory.

“Information we have gathered from those guarding the warehouse is that sometimes, their (Okorocha’s) people come here to pick some items and sell them off.

”However, some of the equipment we are looking for are here and we have come to take possession of the Imo properties and anybody we see here will blame himself. We have taken over the government properties for the good of Imolites based on their demands.

”Some of the public properties discovered included equipment of the Nsu Ceramic and Tiles Industry set up by the then government of Sam Mbakwe as the industry established for Imo people have been personalized.

”We also found street light equipment and their components, traffic light accessories, artificial tree plants were all found in the large warehouse owned by Okorocha.

“Also, a molder from the Nsu tiles and ceramics and other components of the Nsu Ceramic and Tiles Industry was discovered to be in the warehouse and now we have taken over.”

When contacted, Okorocha said what the government recovered were mere cartons of tiles.

”It was interesting to read that what the Commissioner said they recovered were street light accessories and cartons of ties. He didn’t even disclose how he arrived at the conclusion that those items were owned by the government,” he added in a statement by his media aide, Sam Onwuemeodo.

He challenged the government to disclose or publish the proof of ownership of all they claimed they had recovered.

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My Son’s Gay Status, A Spiritual Challenge —– Doyin Okupe

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A former Presidential Spokesman, Dr. Doyin Okupe, says his son’s decision to openly declare himself a homosexual is a spiritual challenge.

Okupe said this in a series of tweets while reacting to a viral photo showing his son, Bolu, wearing rainbow boxers with the caption, Yes, I am gay”.

Okupe, who served under former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan, said as an evangelist, he would never accept homosexuality as it is at variance with Christian values.

He, however, said he was hopeful that God would intervene, adding that he had been aware of his son’s sexual orientation for quite some time.

The former Presidential aide tweeted, “I have been aware of this his new orientation for a while now. He knows that as a Christian and a witness for Christ (an evangelist), I am vehemently opposed to homosexuality as it runs contrary to the avowed precepts of my Christian faith.

“For me, I look beyond the surface or the physical. Here I see a major spiritual challenge ahead but I know as my God liveth, this whole saga will end up in praise to the Almighty Jehovah who I serve day and night.

“For it is written: Behold, the hand of the Lord is not shortened that it cannot save, neither is His ear dead that he cannot hear. Isaiah 59 vs 1.”

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Governors Forum Distance Selves From Yahaya Bello’s Misleading Claim On COVID

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The Nigeria Governors Forum has dissociated itself from a statement by a member and Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, about coronavirus conspiracy theories.

It also set up a committee of experts headed by Prof. Oyewole Tomori to advise members on the procurement and administration of coronavirus vaccines expected to arrive in Nigeria in February.

The decision was taken after the NGF received briefings from three medical experts, including Tomori, a leading virologist and former Vice-Chancellor of the Redeemer’s University of Nigeria; Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib, and the founder/Managing Director of Synlab Nigeria, Dr Pamela Ajayi, among others.

The Chairman of the NGF and Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, said this in a communiqué he signed after a virtual meeting of the forum on Wednesday, which was made public on Thursday.

It read in part, “Following the presentations, the Forum set up a team of experts, led by Prof. Oyewale Tomori, to advise state governors on the procurement and administration of coronavirus vaccines in the country.

“The NGF Chairman, Dr Kayode Fayemi, briefed State governors on a meeting with Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Chair of the Board of Gavi, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, on the rollout of the COVAX facility, which is a global risk-sharing mechanism co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the World Health Organization to facilitate pooled procurement and the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across developing countries. Nigeria is among 12 countries in Africa that have indicated the readiness of the 92 qualified countries for the facility and will by the end of February 2021 receive its first shipment of vaccines.

“The National Primary Health Care Development Agency has indicated that vaccines will be administered in four phases, based on vaccine type and availability, initially for frontline health workers, then the aged (55 years and above), persons with underlying medical conditions and other target groups.

“On the ill-fated pronouncement made by a member of the Forum regarding the COVID-19 vaccine in a national daily, the Forum totally and categorically dissociated itself from the statement, emphasizing that the Forum will continue to be informed and guided by science and will ensure that every decision it takes retains public and professional trust and is not compromised by conflicts of interest.”

The governors also agreed to do more to reactivate their health systems, open-up treatment centers, and increase partnerships with stakeholder groups in order to improve risk communication and the public’s adherence to COVID-19 guidelines.

They also committed to increasing budgetary allocations to the health sector to reduce enteric infections and over 255, 000 preventable deaths in Nigeria each year.

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