A closed-circuit TV footage from Lekki tollgate has been analysed by the CNN to validate its investigation on military attack on #EndSARS protesters.
Recall that CNN published an investigation last week, alleging that the Nigerian army used live bullets on protesters during its intervention in the #EndSARS protest at Lekki tollgate in Lagos state.
CNN said a forensic probe of the bullet casings recovered from the scene of the incident revealed that live bullets were fired at the protesters.
The CNN in a follow-up report which was released on Tuesday said it obtained the CCTV footage of the October 20 incident submitted by the Lekki Concession Company (LCC) ahead of the judicial panel sitting.
The panel headed by Doris Okuwobi, a retired judge, was established to investigate cases of brutality by members of the disbanded special anti-robbery squad (SARS) and other police abuses.
The LCC had said the cameras at the tollgate stopped working from 8pm on October 20.
In its analysis, media organisation said the footage reviewed at the panel sitting corroborated the timings it reported for the gunshots fired by soldiers but that it did not capture everything that happened.
“The footage corroborates the timings CNN reported for the gunshots fired by the army. It also shows soldiers approaching protesters and firing shots. What is perhaps most notable is what’s missing,” it said.
“At 6:47 p.m., the moment when CNN has video of the army appearing to fire directly at protesters, the surveillance camera pans away from the area.
“The surveillance camera pans left and tilts up before reframing and struggling for focus. It is unclear if the camera pans away deliberately or whether the pan away is a poor choice by the CCTV operator.”
In its report, CNN quoted Ahmed Taiwo, commander of 81 division, army military intelligence brigade, as admitting that soldiers carried live ammunition to the protest ground.
“For the protection of the force, we carried live bullets in case they were attacked. But the soldiers who formed the firing team, who fired as you could see in the video […] carried magazines charged with blank ammunition,” he said.
The Nigerian government had tagged the CNN investigation as fake news, threatening to sanction the broadcaster for “irresponsible reporting”.
The minister of information, Lai Mohammed in a letter addressed to Jonathan Hawkins on Monday said the report “did not just fall short of journalistic standards but reinforces the disinformation that is going around on the issue”.
He said CNN failed to present a balanced reportage but rather relied “heavily on manipulated social media videos” adding that the inciting report is capable of setting the country on fire.