CNN published an investigation it conducted on the Lekki Toll Gate on Wednesday. The American news-based television channel’s investigation came after about 28 days after the incident. This report seeks to investigate CNN’s investigation on the following premise; (A) Jeff Koinange a CNN journalist was reprimanded by the Nigerian government over a report where he accompanied masked MEND guerillas to a camp where they were holding a number of Filipino hostages.
The Nigerian government said it was staged. He was eventually fired for that act. (B) September 4, 2002, CNN published a story with headline, “Iraq has tons of chemical weapons”. Along with Fox News, CNN played a big role in convincing the world that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
(C) October 7, 2004, after the invasion of Iraq, CNN published another story with the headline, “Report: No WMD stockpiles in Iraq”. Experts at CNN did not conduct an investigation research in Iraq for the good of the country.
(D) December 2018, researchgate.com uploaded a publication titled, “The fall of Gaddafi through CNN and Fox News”. Excerpt from the introduction reads,
“Ignorance about the political and social processes in Libya lead the Fox and CNN audiences to accept, without prior or later questioning, the actions of NATO in Libya“
"Some Nigerians have been worried about CNN’s latest so-called investigation. They have been asking some key questions which the global news network must answer."
Research shows that CNN launches investigation into chaos and whatever would portray Africa and Middle East countries in bad light. Also, with its error in Iraq and Libya, CNN reports or investigations are not unquestionable.
CNN Launches Investigation
The Nigeria army was accused of shooting at innocent protesters on the night of October 20. The incident had sparked controversies when Nigerians became divided on whether there was a Massacre or not following the immediate resurrection of those who were believed to have died on that night.
Eniola Badmus, Steve Abbey, Iraoya Godwin etc., debunked the news that they died. More information on the fake news surrounding the alleged #LekkiMassacre would be provided after scrutinizing CNN’s report.
Proving the Massacre
News went around immediately after the shooting that 78 people were killed by the Nigerian army at the Lekki Toll Gate. Amnesty International confirmed 12 deaths without pieces of evidence. It was rumoured that the soldiers took the bodies away. October 23, CNN tweeted that the soldiers killed 38 protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate also without pieces of evidence.
In its most recent investigation published on Wednesday, a single body was provided but did not explain what happened to the other bodies after strategically ignoring Dj Switch’s claim that the soldiers took dead bodies away.
Our researchers have tried to contact the brother of Victor, Elisha Sunday Ibanga for more information. At the time of this writing, we have not been able to get him.
Questions on the dead body
- A Judicial Panel had been created to submit pieces of evidence on the alleged Lekki Massacre, why is Elisha withholding information?
- It was said that he was shot around 1:04 am. If the Nigeria Army went away with the dead bodies according to Dj Switch, when was his corpse taken away?
- The picture had surfaced earlier on the internet before CNN’s investigation.
A Twitter user, Onyiye Francis refuted this story that had thousands of retweets claiming that it was a drama. However, we have not been able to trace the body said to be of Victor.
Pls is a drama help and stop the fake news pic.twitter.com/JACcPyVIfN— Onyinye Francis (@Onyinye35558450) October 22, 2020
If we agree to agree that the man in the picture was a victim, then, the Lekki Toll Gate should be a pool of blood considering the volume of blood a single person was soaked in. No forensic analysis claimed blood was cleaned.
Missing Person – Wisdom Okon
CNN in its report claimed to have spoken to one Peace Okon, 24, whose 18-year-old brother was said to have gone to the Lekki protest but not seen since then.
The same picture had been uploaded by a Facebook user, Bashir Lucas Samson Lukman on October 22 reporting the case of the missing child.
We obtained a Whatsapp voice note from Peace Okon who sheds more light on her brother’s disappearance.
What we deduced from Peace Okon’s Voice note
- Contrary to CNN’s report, we cannot reliably say her brother was taken away by the soldiers at Lekki Toll Gate.
- CNN’S claim of concealing information of those who shared information with them for security purposes is false. Peace had gone to the Police stations and an Army barrack in search of her brother without any harassment.
They showed her names and faces yet she was not arrested nor killed by the police or soldiers for looking for her brother.
- Consequent upon the above, Dj Switch and others should appear before the Judicial panel if they really want justice.
- CNN is not concerned about Wisdom Okon. All they want from Peace is information. That is what an African means to them. Our team gave Peace address to the Judicial panel, date of sittings as well as contacts.
BBC interviews reporter
While Nima Elbagir of CNN was not in Nigeria at the time of the alleged #LekkiMassacre, BBC had an interview with one of its reporters who was at Lekki Toll Gate.
BBC interviews reporter
Nothing is new
We carefully went through CNN’s reports and discovered that CNN did not provide any new information but used existing videos and images that have been seen more than 3 weeks ago.
The Nigerian army is yet to speak on the claim of the bullets traced to Serbia. The Nigerian Army claimed it shot blank bullets incapable of killing into the air.
Some pertinent questions
A Facebook user, Hajara Usman while reacting to CNN’s report asked;
- Why is it that the soldiers who were purportedly captured driving towards the toll gate on their killer mission could not equally be captured pilling dead bodies into their army trucks and leaving with same?
- Why is it that people who were shot with bullets piercing through their stomachs and coming out through their backs are not in ICU but are standing, Hale and hearty granting press interviews to the international media?
- Why is it that the family or brother of the so-called victim of the Lekki shooting, Elisha have not taken their claims to the panel even as it’s winding up its sitting very shortly? (Peace Okon’s voice note shows there’s nothing to worry about presenting one’s grievances at the Judicial panel)
- And again, let’s assume that the soldiers left after one or two hours and the police now took over the shooting from them, nobody filmed a single policeman shooting or still piling dead bodies in their own trucks to take away to wherever
Misinformation surrounding the Lekki Massacre
We have collected information from Aledeh.com to fact-check claims of death at the toll gate. Our researches sourced for the images attached.
Claim 1: Soldiers of the Nigerian Army shot at unarmed protesters
The Nigerian Army was accused of deploying soldiers to open fire on unarmed protesters, an accusation the Nigerian Army has dismissed as “fake news”. In a tweet, it said no soldier was at the scene.
Several footages have shown that the army’s claim is not true. A popular Disc Jockey, DJ Switch, who was at the Lekki toll gate, streamed the shooting live on her Instagram page. Gunshots were heard and bullets were displayed by those around her. The Lagos governor has also confirmed the presence of the military, though he said he did not call for them at the time.
We have established this fact to be true. However, the Army claimed they shot blank bullets.
Claim 2: Video showing a soldier shooting a high-calibre mounted machine gun
A video also posted on social media, showed unknown soldiers allegedly firing at unarmed protesters at the Lekki toll gate with a high-calibre mounted machine gun.
“Nigeria at war with its citizens. Politicians and Government officials fighting Nigerian Youths. It have not reached this stage now. We did not ask to be killed like this now,” a Twitter user, Onna tweeted.
Checks revealed that this video was doctored to look like it was from the Lekki shooting incident. While the audio seems to correspond with the incident, the visual didn’t. Different videos confirmed that soldiers at the Lekki toll gate were seen with weapons that seemed to be AK-47s, not machine guns.
We have established that the claim that this video is from Lekki shooting is FALSE.
Claim 3: All CCTV cameras at the toll gate were removed hours before the shooting
Social media was awash with claims that the perimeter CCTV cameras at the scene were removed before the shooting started to cover up the atrocities. There were videos that showed staff of the Lekki Concession Company (LCC) removing some devices.
During an interview on Arise TV on Thursday, Sanwo-Olu debunked the claims, saying, “the devices removed were not security cameras, but laser plate number scanners for vehicles. It picks the tag on cars and number plates”.
Also, the LCC management came out to clarify that the devices removed were not cameras. The company said, in compliance with the curfew, it had asked its staff to remove sensitive equipment from the premises as a “safe-keeping” move because the plaza would become unmanned.
Besides, the governor disclosed that the CCTV footage was active during the shooting. He said the footage would be made available to the Investigative Panel.
The claim that CCTV cameras were removed from the scene is FALSE.
Claim 4: Soldiers killed over 70 people in a massacre
Following the shooting, many accounts claimed different death toll. Some claimed that over 70 people were shot dead at the Lekki toll gate. A certain Twitter user, Opal Tometi, claimed that 78 were killed.
After the incident, the Lagos governor said 10 patients were at the General Hospital, 11 at Reddington Hospital and 4 at Vedic Hospital; with mild to moderate levels of injuries while 2 were receiving intensive medical care.
He has confirmed only one unnamed individual dead. Sanwo-Olu said his death at the Reddington Hospital, Lekki, was caused by blunt force trauma to the head. A search of the hospitals in the area established that there was no death connected to the shooting.
The claim that over 70 people were killed by soldiers is FALSE.
Claim 5: Soldiers killed lady along with her two friends at the Lekki toll gate
In a video, a lady identified as Lucy Adu was seen dancing at the Lekki Toll Plaza protest. Another video emerged of her lifeless body with Anthony Okechukwu and another friend. She was allegedly killed by soldiers who shot at protesters.
“She was dancing an hour before she was murdered by the Nigerian armed forces Lucy was her name #endsars – a bullet hit her in the face and ripped half her face-off,” a tweet read.
The first video established that Lucy Adu indeed attended the protest at Lekki toll gate. But the undated video didn’t indicate the day she attended the protest. Various accounts supposedly from Lucy’s friend clarified that she boarded a motorcycle that ran into a stationary truck. The accident resulted in the three fatalities seen in the second video. One of the accounts said the pictures of her lifeless body were posted before 7pm on Tuesday, around the time the shooting at Lekki started.
“Her name is Lucia (Lucy). And according to a handle on Instagram that posted about her death a day ago, while it is tragic, it was not a result of the shooting at the toll gate. It was from a motorcycle accident on her way home from protesting,” Ik Osakioduwa tweeted.
“The late Lucy alleged to be shot at #Lekki was involved in an accident according to a lady who claims to be her roommate. pics (pictures) of the accident were posted b4 (before) 7pm yesterday. May her soul rest in peace,” one Tony Nta also tweeted.
The claim that she was shot by soldiers is established as FALSE.
Claim 6: Rumoured death of Corps Member
A viral photo on social media showed that a member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) was shot in the stomach during a shootout on Lagos Mainland.
The young man in the picture soon debunked the rumour, saying the picture was taken on a movie set earlier in the year.
Thus, the claim of his death has been established to be FALSE.
Corps Member debunks death
Claim 7: Another man rumoured dead
Steve Abbey was said to have died while the shooting at the Lekki protest ground was being streamed live on Instagram. His last words were reported as “Peace and Unity”
Abbey has since taken to his Twitter handle to debunk the rumour. He stated he is not the guy on the Instagram Live video.
“This is not the guy on the IG live. This guy is me and you need to take this down immediately. What will you benefit for chasing clout at this trying time? Why pass information. I am alive and well. TAKE THIS DOWN!!” He tweeted.
The claim that Steve Abbey died at the protest ground is FALSE.
Claim 8: Graphic Designer killed by stray bullet hours after “Nigeria will not end me” tweet
A gory picture circulated on Twitter, showing the lifeless picture of a Graphic Designer, Oke Obi-Enadhuze. He was wrapped in a Nigerian flag. He died just hours tweeting, “Nigeria will not end me” on his Twitter page. It was claimed that he was killed by a stray bullet.
Oke’s brother, Daniel Obi-Enadhuze, has since come out to debunk the claim that his brother was shot dead by a stray bullet. He said Oke was stabbed on the neck by hoodlums who attacked their residence inside the Makinde Police Barracks, Mafoluku Oshodi, Lagos. Daniel noted that his brother was pronounced dead at the hospital.
“Good day, My name is Obi-Enadhuze Daniel younger brother of the now-deceased Okechukwu Obi-Enadhuze @O_Okee . I, my brother and mother lived at makinde police barracks, mafoluku, Oshodi, Lagos State. Today at about 11 o’clock in the morning,” he tweeted.
Thus, the claim that he was shot by a stray bullet is FALSE
Claim 9: Rumoured death of Iraoya Godwin
In a tweet, popular rapper, MI Abaga, tweeted that Godwin died that of gunshots wounds to his stomach during the protest on the mainland.
“Iraoya Godwin. Pls RT and add full names of any victims of anyone you know! Let’s keep their memory alive by saying their names!!!” He tweeted.
A video was posted showing Godwin safe and very much alive at his residence. He confirmed that he was alive.
Therefore, the claim that Iraoya Godwin was killed is FALSE.
“Against all speculations about me being shot or dead at the unspeakable incident that happened at the toll gate few hours ago, I would like to inform you guys that I Eniola Badmus is hale and hearty,” she tweeted.
The claim that Eniola Badmus was shot has been established to be FALSE.
Some Nigerians have also investigated the veracity of claims by the CNN on the origin of the bullets reportedly recovered from the protest ground.
Again CNN lied, Nigeria does not buy ammo from Serbia. Nigeria has it's own military company that produces military equipments from AKM, OBJ-006, Berly, side gun, ballistic vest. Also they produced 7.62mm x 51mm soft ball cartridge. @JohnFanimokun— Major-General Mobilisingnigerians (@mobilisingniger) November 18, 2020
See https://t.co/Pjx5pkVk2n pic.twitter.com/1fKwXaD9wM
The CNN report on Lekki toll gate- My response by OA.— TOGETHER NIGERIA @ 60 (@femiadegbulugbe) November 18, 2020
I have spent time to read the CNN report and watch the CNN video on the Lekki events of Oct 20.
It is my intention to provide an objective response. I will be speaking as a Patriotic Nigerian. 👇👇
While Nigerians still await the true events at Lekki Tollgate, caution and professionalism must be applied in the reportage and acceptance of investigations.
By Lucas Bashir and Sulaiman Aledeh