CNN has clarified its tweet of October 23, 2020 which reported that “at least 38 people were killed” when soldiers opened fire on unarmed #EndSARS protesters in Lagos.
Nigerians protesting against police brutality had thronged the streets in various parts of the country in October to demand a comprehensive reform of the force.
But the protests, which lasted for two weeks, turned violent after it was hijacked by suspected hoodlums.
On October 20, troops had stormed the Lekki toll gate protest ground, reportedly shooting at protesters.
There have been conflicting reports on the actual casualties recorded on the night.
But the American cable network had in an earlier tweet accompanying its report on the shooting claimed “at least 38 people” died during the incident.
The media outlet, quoting Amnesty International (AI), had also claimed that at least 56 people died across the country since the protest commenced as of October 22.
“At least 56 people have died across Nigeria since the #EndSARS protests began on October 8, with 38 killed across the country on Tuesday alone, according to human rights group Amnesty International,” it had reported.
The tweet accompanying the story had read: “At least 38 people were killed in Nigeria on Tuesday when the military opened fire on peaceful protesters But the President failed to address the carnage during his speech on Thursday, drawing criticism from protesters who accuse him of failing to show empathy & unify the nation.”
In a post on its Twitter page on Thursday, however, CNN said its October 23 tweet did not attribute the death toll to Amnesty International.
It also said the tweet did not explicitly said those killed were as a result of the #EndSARS protests.
“Clarification: This tweet from October 23 did not attribute the death toll from protests in Nigeria to Amnesty International. The tweet also did not make it clear that the death toll was for protests across the country,” it wrote.
Clarification: This tweet from October 23 did not attribute the death toll from protests in Nigeria to Amnesty International. The tweet also did not make it clear that the death toll was for protests across the country. https://t.co/NAe7IegFrC— CNN Africa (@CNNAfrica) November 26, 2020
However, CNN, on its website, identified Amnesty International as the source of the information on the casualty figures even if it didn’t in the tweet.
CNN’s clarification is coming amid backlash from the Nigerian government following its recent investigation into the Lekki shooting which established that one person reportedly died on the night of the incident.
Lai Mohammed, minister of information, had earlier threatened sanction against the media outlet, describing the investigation as “irresponsible reporting”.
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