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Lekki shooting: ‘Your report is capable of setting Nigeria on fire’ — Lai Mohammed writes CNN

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The Federal government has written a letter to CNN, condemning its documentary on the October 20 shooting incident at the Lekki tollgate in Lagos, saying the report is capable of setting the nation on fire.

Recall that during the EndSARS protest, military men stormed the toll plaza while the protesters were gathered for the daily protest.

In a documentary released last week, CNN alleged that soldiers used live bullets on the protesters. The media house also shared videos of what appears to be soldiers shooting directly at the protesters. The Nigerian Army has repeatedly denied reports of using live bullets on the protesters, insisting they only used blank bullets.

In a letter dated November 23 and addressed to Jonathan Hawkins, VP, communications, CNN, the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, said the report fell short of journalistic standards and also reinforced the disinformation that is going around on the issue.

The Minister also averred that the media house failed to show a balanced reportage.

The letter in part 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,” the letter read.

“In the first instance, the report did not live up to the most basic of the core principles of journalism – balance and fairness.

“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, yet did not say that she even tried to reach the Minister.

“Another serious breach by CNN, in its ‘investigation’, is that the network relied heavily on unverified footages 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.

“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.

“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!

“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.”

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Celebrity

Didier Drogba, African Football Legend Divorces Wife

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The legend of Chelsea and Cote d’Ivoire, Didier Drogba, revealed that his ten-year marriage to his Malian wife, Lalla Diakate, is over… after appearing with a mystery woman in an intimate video in bed. In the late 1990s in Paris, Drogba, 42, met Diakate and they married in 2011.

As he sought to protect his loved ones from the limelight, he had previously kept a quiet private life. But after saucy pictures of him and an unknown woman set tongues wagging, he was coerced into making a statement confirming his relationship with Diakate was over. On social media, the images and clips soon went viral. And they revealed the bare-cheeled Blues idol in bed with a young woman who was almost naked.

Also Read: Nigerian Billionaire dies of Covid-19

He wrote on his Instagram handle, “I’m not in the habit of discussing my private life. “But, because of speculation in the media today, I can confirm that sadly, after 20 years together, Lalla and I took the difficult decision to separate last year. “We remain very close, and our main priorities have been to protect our children and our family’s private life. “May God bless you.”

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55-year-old man arrested for allegedly raping seven teenagers in Jos

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The police in Plateau state have arrested a 55-year-old man, Abdulhamid Sale, pictured above for allegedly raping seven teenagers in Bukuru community of Jos South local government area.

A youth leader in the community, Aliyu Hassan, said the suspect was arrested after one of the mothers of his victim reported the matter to members of the vigilante group in the community.

“The arrest of the suspect came after a report by a mother to one of the victims to the vigilante group in the area that she saw her daughter with a phone and felt that something was wrong.

After a thorough investigation, we found out that the phone was given to the girl by the said Abdulhamid Sale, and further checks revealed that he raped seven girls, mostly 13 years old in Kugiya area of Bukuru, who are mostly hawkers, by luring them with as little as 50 Naira, and small Tecno Phones”Aliyu said

Confirming the arrest, the spokesperson of the state police command, ASP Gabriel Ubah, said the suspect is in the custody of the police and would be charged to court as soon as investigation into the matter is concluded.

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#EndSARS: Court stops prosecution of Pastor Sam Adeyemi, Davido, and others

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A High Court in the Federal Capital Territory has stopped the prosecution of Pastor Sam Adeyemi of Daystar Christian Centre, Burna Boy, Davido, Falz, activist Deji Adeyanju and others over the #EndSARS protest. 

The High Court ordered a Magistrate court to immediately stop proceedings and stay action against 50 persons who supported the #EndSARS protests, following a criminal complaint filed by lawyer Kenechuhwu Okeke. 

Okeke in his suit alleged that during the riot,  properties were destroyed and the defendants who promoted the #EndSARS protests must be held responsible for it and also brought to justice.

Justice Bello Kawu who delivered a judgment on the application filed by Activist Deji Adeyanju (one of the defendants) for a judicial review of the substantive matter before the magistrate, said; 

“An order of this honourable court granting leave to the application to issue and serve on the defendant an application for judicial review against the proceedings/direct criminal complaint of Hon. Omolola Tolulope Akindele sitting at Chief Magistrate Court II, Wuse Zone 6 in the suit of Kenechukwu Okeke Vs Deji Adeyanju and 49 others in suit No. CR/49/2020.

“An order of this honourable court, that on the grant of the above orders herein, serve as stay of all proceedings on the direct criminal complaint Omolola Tolulope Akindele sitting at Chief Magistrate Court II, Wuse Zone 6 in the suit of Kenechukwu Okeke Vs Deji Adeyanju and 49 others in suit no. CR/49/2020.

“An order of this honourable court, that on the grant of the above orders herein, same order as granted by the honourable court shall restrain the Nigeria Police Force, 2nd and 3rd defendants from taking any further steps, arresting and or taking any unconstitutional/illegal steps in the form of any guise as it concerns the subject matters whatsoever before this court herein as it concerns all parties in the proceedings.”

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