By Paul Dada and Zainab Sanni
The CNN investigative report published on the October 20 shootings by the Nigerian Army at the Lekki Tollgate Plaza have generated heated debates since it was published Wednesday.
The CNN maintained in its report that evidences showed that men of the Nigerian Army shot at and killed unarmed #EndSars protesters that Tuesday night.
But AN24.net and some Nigerians have observed not a few holes in the CNN report. Many videos and pictures claimed to be that of dead protesters which went viral on social media have been found to false as reported by An24.net on November 11. Click link to read the report: Lekki Shooting: The Fake Pictures That Went Viral
While the CNN report established that Nigerian soldiers left Bonny camp for Leki Toll gate and fired shots, its evidence pointing to deaths raises more questions than answers. The investigation provided the testimony of the brother of one allegedly dead protester, Victor Ibanga.
The CNN said Victor’s brother, Elisha Sunday Ibanga confirmed he was shot dead at Lekki Toll Gate but the case has not been brought before the Lagos Judicial Panel investigating the events of October and police brutality in the country.
It was also said that Victor Ibanga was shot around 1:04am. If the Nigerian Army went away with the dead bodies according to Dj Switch, when was his corpse taken away?
CNN in its report also said that it spoke to Peace Okon, whose 18-year-old brother, Wisdom Okon is reported to have been present at the Lekki protest but has been missing since October 20th.
A Whatsapp voice credited to Peace Okon affirms that she had taken steps to look for the brother and cannot yet confirm whether he is alive or dead. Peace’s efforts towards finding closure on her missing brother involved visits to the police station, army barracks and interviews with various media houses yet she has not reported any harassment or intimidation from the Nigerian security forces. This seemingly debunks the claim that families of victims have refused to come out for fear that they will become targets of the federal government.
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 Tollgate on their killer mission could not equally be captured pilling dead bodies into their army trucks and leaving with same?
AN24.net asked a similar question in its news commentary published on November 11. Click link to read: Lekki Shootings: Where Are The Corpses? ( A News Commentary)
Usman further asked: “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 has 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 police man shooting or still piling dead bodies in their own trucks to take away to wherever?”
While the Nigerian Army has yet to speak on the claim of the bullets traced to Serbia, it had previously stated that it shot blank bullets incapable of killing into the air. A Twitter user has however challenged the claims made by CNN.
The Twitter user named ‘Major-General Mobilisingnigerians’ wrote “Again CNN lied, Nigeria does not buy ammo from Serbia. Nigeria has its 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. Again @CNNAfrica lied on its reports the only equipment Nigeria bought from Serbia in 2017 which is owned by Bulgaria is large Calibre artillery systems first order was 800 while the second order was 12. The artillery system is used in NE. Ammo is different from artilleries.”
It is a fact that CNN has previously been accused and found of publishing reports found to be untrue. An example is the one made its journalist, Jeff Koinange in 2007. Koinage had filed a report where he claimed to have accompanied masked MEND guerillas to a camp where they were holding a number of Filipinos hostage. The kidnap was eventually found out to be staged. Koinage was fired for that act, although the reporter maintained it was true.