The Federal Government has insisted that the military men did not shoot at #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Tollgate, describing the alleged mass killings as a massacre without bodies.
This follows a recent investigative report by US-based media, Cable News Network (CNN), in which they published a video, allegedly showing Nigerian soldiers shooting at unarmed protesters at the Lekki Tollgate, based on video evidence from mobile phones of witnesses.
According to a report by Channels Television, this was disclosed by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed on Thursday, November 19, 2020, at a press conference in Abuja.
The CNN said that contrary to the submission by the army that blank bullets were fired at the protesters, their investigative report revealed that live were fired directly at the protesters at the Lekki Tollgate.
While referring to the CNN report as promoting a baseless and preconceived narrative, Mohammed said that the media organization relied on social media video evidence without verification
The minister criticized CNN’s report on the Lekki incident describing it as blatantly irresponsible.
He said that the mainstream media should confirm the veracity of footage used before airing and also pointed out that the government will work with stakeholders to curb fake news on social media.
Going further, Mohammed said that those who were saying that there was an alleged massacre at the Tollgate only succeeded in misleading the world. He said anyone that has a contrary proof that the army shot at protesters or there was a massacre at Lekki Tollgate, should make them available to the panel investigating the matter.
Lekki Tollgate Shooting: US says security forces shot in the air, no information on fatalities
The U.S Government has said that the Nigerian security forces fired shots into the air to disperse #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate.
The United States Government has said that the Nigerian security forces fired shots into the air to disperse #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos on October 20, 2020.
This contradicts allegations from media reports that some eyewitnesses saw soldiers firing live ammunition at the peaceful protesters.
This disclosure is contained in the 2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Nigeria released by the US Department of State on Tuesday, March 30, 2021.
The report pointed out that there was no accurate information on the number of fatalities from the shootings contrary to Amnesty International’s report that 10 people died during the incident as a result of gunshot wounds.
What the report on Human Rights Practices on Nigeria is saying
The report partly reads, “On Oct. 20, members of the security forces enforced curfew by firing shots into the air to disperse protesters, who had gathered at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos to protest abusive practices by the Nigerian Police Force’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
Accurate information on fatalities resulting from the shooting was not available at year’s end.
Amnesty International reported 10 persons died during the event, but the government disputed Amnesty’s report, and no other organisation was able to verify the claim.
The government reported two deaths connected to the event. One body from the toll gate showed signs of blunt force trauma.
A second body from another location in Lagos State had bullet wounds. The government acknowledged that soldiers armed with live ammunition were present at the Lekki Toll Gate.”
What you should know
- It can be recalled that in the aftermath of the alleged shooting of #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Tollgate, US-based media outfit, Cable News Network (CNN), in its investigate report, aired a video allegedly showing Nigerian soldiers shooting at unarmed protesters at the tollgate, based on video evidence from mobile phones and witnesses.
- The Federal Government in its response insisted that the military did not shoot at the #EndSARS protesters, describing the alleged mass killings as a massacre without bodies.
- Also, President Muhammadu Buhari, while expressing his disgust at the coverage of the incident by foreign media organisations like CNN and BBC, said that their reports on the EndSARS protests were not balanced.
ICPC Chairman reveals #EndSARS protests was financed with cryptocurrency
ICPC Chairman has revealed to the Nigerian Senate that the #EndSARS protest was largely funded with cryptocurrency.
The Chairman of Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Commission (ICPC), Bolaji Owasanoye has revealed to the Nigerian Senate that the #EndSARS protest was largely funded with cryptocurrency.
This is as he said there are strong indications that it could be used to fund Insurgency in the country.
According to a report from Vanguard, this disclosure was made by the ICPC Chairman, during an interactive session with Senate Joint Committee on Banking, ICT, Cybercrime and Capital Market led by Senator Uba Sani on Tuesday, February 23, 2021.
The Joint committee was mandated to look at the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ban Cryptocurrency in Nigeria.
The ICPC boss while supporting the position of the CBN, said that the nature of operations of Cryptocurrency exposes it to money laundering and terrorism financing.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) has said that the agency averted a $3million fraud linked to 20 bank accounts.
Owasanoye further explained that the anti-graft agency currently has a number of cases linked to Cryptocurrency but is unable to track the suspects.
He brought the attention of the Senate to a period in 2018 when a number of globally rated financial institutions said their financial statements had been hacked with the perpetrators asking to be paid in Cryptocurrencies.
ICPC Chairman noted that the CBN as a regulator has the responsibility to ensure sound financial stability and it will be difficult to achieve in the case of Cryptocurrencies where the players are anonymous.
While sharing the experience of the Indian Supreme Court and how it ruled and admitted that it does not know what it is, he urged the Lawmakers to as a matter of urgency, take decisive action against Cryptocurrencies.
What you should know
- It can be recalled that the CBN had directed the financial institutions to immediately close the accounts of such persons or entities transacting in or operating cryptocurrency exchanges, warning of severe regulatory sanctions in the event of any breach of the directive.
- The apex bank warned the Deposit Money Banks, Non-Financial Institutions and other Financial Institutions against doing business in crypto and other digital assets.
- The latest directive is coming after the CBN had in 2018 stated that cryptocurrencies are not legal tender and as such are illegal.
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