Federal Government Versus CNN

Again as always, we find ourselves at the front page of international , obviously not for reasons many will be proud of but for a cause many are excited to follow to see which of the big elephants eventually emerges victorious at the end.

Who sings the victory song, Nigerians are etching as the online community actively wait for the end of this war between both parties?

Ever since the fateful night on the 20th of October 2020, which saw the quite unfortunate incident between the men of the Nigerian Army and the Peaceful ENDSARS protesters, one which was called Lekki Massacre by a large chunk of the Nigerian populace but is regarded as Lekki Shootings by the Federal Government and the men of the Nigerian Army.

Following the event at the Lekki Toll gate, there’s been obvious bold move by the Federal Government of Nigeria under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari to have a full grip over the mainstream media in its bid to ensure that it  controls the media space over the kind of contents been spread around fueling National anger and getting international attention over the Lekki Toll gate incident.

The constant denial of the Federal Government, the Lagos State Government and also the men of the Nigerian Army that it ever used live bullets on Peaceful protesters not kill any one in the process of the protest, one which is against the narrative of many Nigerians who were present at the scene of the incident, the obviously missing bodies of those allegedly claimed to have died in the process as shown in the various live videos that sufficed in the course of the protest cast an air of uncertainty over the claim of the ENDSARS Protest apologists.

While the various narratives regarding the real trend of events for the incident continues to circulate, the CNN as part of its independent investigation came up with it own findings where it showed footage of the incident which indicted the men of the Nigerian Army shooting live bullets at the peaceful protesters on the night of the 20th of October 2020. This report as released by the CNN drew the anger of the Federal Government of Nigeria who claimed that the report of the international media outfit fell short of the international standards as it is failed to make any attempt to hear the account of the Federal Government. They also claimed that such report is enough to cause a state of Anarchy in the country as it could set the people against the government.

Another of the claim of the Federal Government of Nigeria is that the footage used by the CNN are not in anyway valid or verified footages as they were harvested from the various pages of the social media as it stated that the CNN did not have any of its reporters present at the scene of the event when it happened.

While the Nigerian Government continue to call out the CNN on the need for it to carry out an objective investigation on the incident that occurred at the Lekki Toll gate, the CNN on its part have come out the second time to stand by it investigation and findings, saying that the  findings is based on a thoroughly researched process of objective and investigative journalism.

While the Nigerian populace watches on and the international community as the Federal Government and the CNN continue to exchange words over the credibility of their positions, determining the real course of what really happened at the Lekki Toll Gate might proved an Herculean task over the lack of materials that fully captured the course of events and all that really happened.

We must also remember that the Lagos State Government as part of its attempts to get to the root of what really happened at the Lekki Toll gate on the 20th of October 2020 have set up an independent judiciary inquiry panel which is designed to look into the complaint of the people against the Police and also investigate the event, unraveling the truth about what really happened at the Lekki Toll gate.

While the panel is still on with its investigation, many Nigerians may not be truly satisfied with the results of the panel as they may actually doubt how independent and objective the panel is because it’s set up by the Lagos State Government.

The popular belief is that the body will not want to indict the Lagos State Government and in the process, it is outcome may lack objectivity. However the course of the investigation have seen the Nigeria Army attesting to the fact that they indeed went to the scene of the Protest with both live and blank bullets which to a greater extent authenticate the some of the claims of the findings made by the CNN.

However there is still more to be unraveled, more truth to be unearthed if the true account of what really happened at the Lekki Toll Gate is to be objectively investigated, the truth they say can only set it, the Federal Government of Nigeria will definitely have a serious offense on its hands if the truth is eventually revealed and it indicts them while on the other hand, the CNN also has it credibility on the line if their claims turns out to be false.

This can only be determined by the truth, and for this to happen it will do both side good if there is an independent international inquiry which cannot be influenced by both parties. This if done and the various evidence are brought to be examined, this will go a long way in putting to bed this issue.

It will be a highly disappointing if this case is rendered inconclusive as there are evidence on ground to put an end to this issue, all that’s needed is an independent international inquiry to examine these various claims and evidence in order to determine their authenticity and their validity

Marcus Amudipe

November 26, 2020

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