Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Coalition of Civil Society For Human Rights and Good Governance Africa, has accused an American-based Cable News Network (CNN), of undermining the integrity of Nigeria following its report on the #EndSARS protest, in which it alleged that the Nigerian Army opened fire on demonstrators at the Lekki toll gate on October 20.
The group, in a statement signed on Saturday, by its representatives, Prof Bankole Amuda and three others, christened the report fake, repulsive and a concocted piece of deliberate falsehood by an otherwise reputable international cable network.
Prof Amuda claimed that from its findings, no protester was killed on the said day, as only blank ammunition were used by soldiers to restore normalcy.
He said:”We condemn the CNN and all their evil collaborators for the fake report of alleged massacre at the Lekki tollgate on October 20, 2020, as nothing can be further from the truth.
“We are of the firm view that the CNN only relied on fake videos posted on the internet by enemies of the state, to draw conclusion of a massacre, that only exists, or existed in their fertile mind and that of its collaborators – local and international.
“We recognise the right of CNN to carry out exclusive investigative activities around the world, in a bid to expose corruption, human rights violation and other ills perpetrated by governments or groups/individuals, as the case may be.
“In the face of this, however, we hasten to warn against attempts to package falsehood in the guise of truth, to satisfy pre-conceived agenda to destroy Nigeria.
“May we warn CNN and the like, that Nigeria is not a banana republic, where cases of provocation and incitement against a constitutional government will be allowed or tolerated.
“As a responsible group, we have been following proceedings at the Lagos State Judicial Commission of Inquiry, and we can say authoritatively, that no family has yet to come forward with evidence of death of loved ones.
“We are, therefore, at a loss as to CNN’s obsession with ‘massacre’, even when respectable authorities like the military etc, have come out to say the contrary.
“We maintain that the Nigerian Army, and the Military, remains one of the best in global equation,with professionally trained personnel, who do not compromise the rules of engagement in whatever operations they embark on.
“We understand that massacre, a very heinous crime, involves the deliberate killing of many people at a given time.
“Against that gory description, we wonder how soldiers, who are Nigerians with families across the country, will set out to ‘slaughter’ its fellow brothers and sisters.
“We call on patriotic Nigerians and the international community to disregard the CNN’s report in its entirety, while supporting ongoing efforts by government to sustain the momentum of growth and development being witnessed in the country, notwithstanding the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic Nigeria belong to Nigeria’s and can only build to our expectation by Nigeria’s and not any other country, hence we must not allow any external interest destroy our country.
“We trust that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government will resist all forms of intimidation against the Nigerian State, regardless of where such emanates from.
“In the fullness of time, all individuals and groups seeking to undermine the Federal Republic of Nigeria, will be exposed, and we pray that posterity will not let them go without accounting for their deeds.”