In response to the fresh controversy and speck of dust raised by the CNN report on Lekki shooting, Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, pulled the trigger again in defence of the federal government, the Nigerian Army and other authorities indicted in the course of accusation and counter-accusations.
Speaking during a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, November 19, the minister boldly insisted that no "massacre" occurred and labelled as "irresponsible" the investigation carried out by the reputable foreign media.
He described the shooting which happened on Tuesday, October 20, 2020, as a “massacre without bodies,” adding that the violence was aggravated by “unscrupulous persons” including celebrities who circulated fake news through the social media.
In the wake of the responses generated by Mohammed's porous and controversial defence, Legit.ng highlights 6 important things said by the senior minister.
1. Social media used to spread fake news but no plan to regulate it
The fake news/disinformation purveyors have latched on to our concerns to allege that the Federal Government is planning to shut down social media. No, we have no plans to shut down the social media. What we have always advocated, and what we will do, is to regulate the social media. Nigeria is not alone in this regard.
2. No massacre at Lekki toll gate
"...What we can say, based on testimonies available in the public space, is that the world may have just witnessed, for the very first time ever, a MASSACRE WITHOUT BODIES! Some have tagged it 'social media massacre.
"Sadly, the purveyors of fake news and disinformation succeeded in deceiving the world that indeed there was mass killing in Lekki, even when, till date, not a single body has been produced and not a single family or relative has come out to say their child or ward was killed at Lekki. More surprising and irresponsible is the fact that some people have been calling for sanctions against Nigeria or against Nigerian government officials on the basis of a hoax. This is one of the dangers of fake news and disinformation. Once fake news is out, many run with it, without looking back, even when the truth is eventually revealed."
3. CNN engaged in incredible sensationalism
"Like everyone else, I watched the CNN report. I must tell you that it reinforces the disinformation that is going round, and it is blatantly irresponsible and a poor piece of journalistic work by a reputable international news organization. CNN engaged in incredible sensationalism and did a great disservice to itself and to journalism. In the first instance, CNN, which touted its report as an exclusive investigative report, sadly relied on the same videos that have been circulating on social media, without verification. This is very serious and CNN should be sanctioned for that."
4. Federal Government is very satisfied with the role played by the security agencies
"The security agents were professional and measured in their response. Even when their lives were at stake, they exercised uncommon restraint. Their professionalism and measured response saved many lives and properties.
5. DJ Switch is one of the purveyors of fake news and disinformation during the EndSARS
"DJ Switch, real name Obianuju Catherine Udeh, claimed to have authentic evidence of mass killings. Surprisingly, instead of presenting whatever evidence she may have to the Judicial Panel, she chose to escape from the country under the pretext that her life was in danger. I ask: in danger from whom?
"DJ Switch (Obianuju Catherine Udeh) should quit peddling falsehood and present her case, with verifiable evidence, to the Judicial Panel sitting in Lagos. No agency of government has declared her wanted hence she has no reason fleeing or seeking asylum anywhere."
6. Sanction on TV stations justified
"The sanctions imposed on some broadcast media organizations by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) are justified, in view of the unprofessional acts of the organizations which were in clear breach of the Broadcasting Code, as stated by the Commission. It is also imperative for the traditional media to authenticate the information from the social media before pushing such to the public."
#ENDSARS or #REFORMSARS? Nigerians blow hot | Legit TV