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Amnesty International Fell For Social Media Exaggeration, Fake News In Writing Lekki Shootings’ Report – CISS Investigation Reveals

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A special report has revealed that Amnesty International succumbed to social media exaggeration and fake news in its report on the Lekki toll gate shootings in Lagos State.

The Centre for International and Strategic Studies (CISS) said it arrived at this conclusion after a systematic analysis of the events that led to the escalation of violence in the aftermath of the deployment of troops.

In its report signed by Special Rapporteur, Prof Peter Maidoki, the CISS said Amnesty International was hasty in its conclusion and failed to do a thorough job.

It also rubbished the claim as regards the time soldiers arrived at the toll gate, noting that AI relied on the bulk of the misinformation passed around in the social media space.

Contrary to Amnesty’s report, the centre noted that soldiers at the venue of the protest fired shots in the air to disperse the protesters and not directly at the crowd.

The CISS, though, accepted in its report that protesters may have suffered injuries during the pandemonium that ensued.

From videos scrutinized as well as information gathered from various stakeholders, the centre said the report of soldiers loading dead bodies into their truck is false.

While acknowledging that there may be a desperate campaign to discredit the military, the CISS said Amnesty’s deep-rooted contempt for the Nigerian Army is well-known.

The centre, however, urged relevant authorities in the country to begin the process of profiling those individuals and groups whose actions contributed to the escalation of the conflict.

It also advised the Federal Government to continually engage the citizens on the danger of a single narrative on issues of national concern.

Read full report below:

Introduction:

The Centre for International and Strategic Studies undertook a systematic analysis of the events that led to the escalation of violence in the aftermath of the deployment of soldiers to the Lekki Tollgate where EndSARS protesters were gathered.

The objective of the systematic analysis was to put issues in proper perspective for the generality of Nigerians who are fed continuously with various and varying narratives by some groups and associations.

This interim report consequently x-rayed the various factors that led to the skirmish in a most objective manner devoid of any form of bias in its conclusion. This is also on the heels that the Centre for International and Strategic Studies has built a strong reputation over the years in its interventions and contributions to the national discourse in Nigeria.

Key Issues:

The critical issues in the incident in Lagos have been centred on the involvement of the Nigerian Army in the Lekki EndSARS protest where it was alleged that soldiers fired gunshots in a crowd of peaceful protesters armed only with the national flag. It was also alleged that over 78 persons were killed as a result of gunshots injuries sustained.

Human Rights organization, Amnesty International in its report on the incident stated that footage collated showed how “at approximately 6.45 pm, the Nigerian military opened fire on the #EndSARS protesters who were peacefully calling for an end to police brutality”.

Amnesty International also alleged that shortly before the shootings, CCTV cameras at the Lekki toll gate, where #EndSARS protesters had been camped for two weeks, were removed by government officials and the electricity was cut – an apparent attempt to hide evidence.

It also stated that some of those killed and injured at both grounds were allegedly taken away by the military.

Our findings:

The Centre for International and Strategic Studies given the gravity of the allegations levelled against the Nigerian Army, and the need to ensure that the extent of the Army’s involvement in the conflict is determined engaged some critical stakeholders in Lagos state, as well as other individuals and groups that witnessed the incident on the spot.

From pour interactions and analysis, there seem to be a non-correlation with the figures presented by Amnesty International and that of other stakeholders. It is our considered view that Amnesty International was hasty in its conclusion with regards to the number of deaths recorded at the Lekki Tollgate incident.

The claim made with regards the time soldiers arrived at the Lekki Tollgate were also inaccurate as it was realized that Amnesty International relied on the bulk of the misinformation passed around in the social media space in arriving at its conclusion.

It must be stated that there is a possibility that Amnesty International was caught up with the exaggerations in the social media space and didn’t do due diligence with information at their disposal before going to press in its narration of the events that transpired at the Lekki Tollgate.

Amnesty International from our findings indeed contributed immensely to the bulk of the misinformation that made the round with regards to the actual number of casualties recorded at the Lekki Tollgate.

The Centre for International and Strategic Studies also realized that the position of Amnesty International couldn’t be substantiated due to lack of facts. From the video recordings analyzed, soldiers at the venue of the protest indeed fired shots. But not into the crowd as alleged by Amnesty International and other individuals and groups.

There was also no record of soldiers loading dead bodies into their truck as alleged. All the videos scrutinized as well as information gathered from various stakeholders, it was realized that the allegation is false and meant to disparage the efforts of the Nigerian Army.

Our findings also indicated that the soldiers at the Lekki Tollgate shot in the air in an attempt to disperse the crowd and that led to pandemonium amongst the protesters resulting in injuries of various magnitudes.

This fact was indeed corroborated by multiple sources, including some of those present at the venue of the shootings. It was established that the soldiers didn’t fire shots into the crowd as alleged and if that was the case, the whole place would have been littered with dead bodies.

Our Position:

The position of the Centre for International and Strategic Studies after due consultation and interrogation of issues takes the position that there is a subtle campaign to discredit the Nigerian Army in its involvement in internal security operations.

This position is hinged on the fact that lots of misinformation made the rounds accusing the Nigerian Army of crimes against humanity, whereas it was the intervention of the Nigerian Army that indeed saved the day.

Conclusion:

In the concluding analysis, it suffices to state that Amnesty International through its actions with regards to the EndSARS protest indeed harbours a deep-rooted contempt for the Nigerian Army. This was evident in the way and the manner it castigated the efforts of the Nigerian Army in the restoration of law and order in the country.

Amnesty International and other organizations disregarded the negative effect of their actions in the polity. Consequently, they made allegations against the Nigerian Army that from all indications cannot be substantiated.

It consequently might not be out of place if indeed Amnesty International has an ulterior motive aimed at discrediting the Nigerian Army hence it’s narrative on the Lekki Tollgate incident, which from all available facts lacked objectivity, but laced with half-truths and illogical conclusions.

Recommendations:

The Centre for International and Strategic Studies as a result of the findings in this interim report wishes to make the following recommendations:

That the Nigerian Army authorities should begin the process of disabusing the minds of Nigerians that might have believed that shots were fired into the crowd of peaceful protesters.

That the relevant authorities in Nigeria should begin the process of profiling those individuals and groups whose actions contributed to the escalation of the conflict to bring them to face the full wrath of the law for spreading fake news and heating the polity unnecessarily.

That the government must continually engage the citizens on the danger of a single narrative on issues of national concern.

That the leadership of the Nigerian Army should continually train its personnel on internal security operations with regards to the rules of engagement.

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Coalition Appraises Buhari, Military On Fight Against Insecurity ,Warns Nigerians Against Falsehood To Undermine Security Agencies

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Following an extensive appraisal of the security situation across the 19 northern states, the Coalition of Northern Patriots (CNP) says President Muhammadu and the Nigerian military have successfully quelled the threats posed by criminal elements.

According to the coalition, this feat is particularly impressive considering the concerted effort by some interest groups to undermine troops’ progress.

The CNP made this disclosure in its special report on the security situation in Northern Nigeria.

Speaking on Friday at a press conference to unveil the report to the public in Abuja, Alex Samuel, on behalf of the group, said the appraisal was necessary to put things in proper perspective.

Among others, Samuel noted that assessment tours, interviews with critical stakeholders, religious bodies, community leaders, security agencies as well as civil society organizations and non-governmental organizations were deployed to ascertain the true state of things.

At the end of the exercise, the group concluded that there has been tremendous improvement in the security situation in the 19 states thanks to the military and other security agencies.

The report also highlighted that some elements behind the EndSARS protests may be responsible for the violence in the north in a bid to discredit President Buhari-led government.

The coalition, however, warned Nigerians against falsehood capable of undermining the security agencies.

It recommended that troops review their operational strategies in the light of the evolving nature of the security threats and must be wary of agents of destabilisation.

Introduction:

The Coalition of Northern Patriots an organization dedicated to the socio-economic wellbeing of Northern Nigeria as part of its mandate of assessing the state of affairs in the country with emphasis on the security situation undertook an appraisal of the security situation across the 19 northern states in Nigeria.

The emphasis on the 19 Northern states in Nigeria was hinged on the need to cross-examine the security situation with regards to the efforts of the relevant security agencies in addressing the various security challenges in these states. Consequently, for an in-depth assessment and appraisal, efforts were made towards segmenting states under various subheadings.

Methodology:

Primary sources of data were employed during the appraisal that included but not limited to on the spot assessment tours, interviews with critical stakeholders, religious bodies, community leaders, security agencies as well as civil society organizations and non-governmental organizations involved in humanitarian services in the states in Northern Nigeria.

Questionnaires were also distributed across a cross-section of residents in these states to gather first-hand feedback with regards to the security situation in their various domains and the efforts of the relevant security agencies.

The Findings:

The feedback gathered from the assessment of the security situation in the 19 Northern states in Nigeria is segmented into regions and elucidated below:

North Central:

The North Central comprises Benue, Niger, Nasarawa, Pleatua, Kwara and Kogi states. A team of dedicated researchers were dispatched to these states to gather information on the security situation in these states, and the following were identified:

It was gathered that the prominent security issues in North Central were that of kidnappings and farmers-herders conflict. However, there has been a rapid decline in the activities of kidnappers in these states as a result of the introduction of Operation Sahel Sanity by the Nigerian Army in September 2020.

Critical stakeholders corroborated this fact. They heaped praises on the various efforts of the security agencies, especially the Nigerian Army, through its various operations that included routine patrols and intelligence gathering.

It was also observed that the various state governments have been proactive and supportive of the efforts of the security agencies in these states. There has also been a significant synergy between the various security agencies that indeed translated to effective coordination of the security strategies deployed to address the various security threats in the region.

According to feedback gathered, the various security agencies have been alive to their responsibilities and have carried on with such professionalism that has seen the overall improvement in the security situation in the region.

North East:

The main security challenge in North-East Nigeria is the threat posed by the Boko Haram terrorist group, as well as the Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP). The Nigerian Army has been at the forefront of leading the charge against the Boko Haram insurgency.

The team of researchers was able to identify that in the six states in North-East Nigeria (Borno, Yobe, Bauchi, Adamawa, Gombe and Taraba) the Boko Haram threat has been effectively contained in all but Borno State still experiencing some pockets of Boko Haram attacks on the fringes of the Lake Chad Basin region.

It was observed that there had been a renewed onslaught by the Nigerian Military towards addressing the Boko Haram threat in Borno state through the doubling of efforts and cooperation of the political authorities in the states towards bringing an end to the Boko Haram menace in the state.

The various stakeholders in the region indeed confirmed that the Boko Haram group has been decimated and that the Nigerian Military is currently engaged in clearance operations in Borno states and other states in the region. This much was seen in the strong presence on military operatives in these states and perceived hotspots.

It was also observed that the morale of the security operatives in the region is at a high given the commitment of the military hierarchy towards bringing to an end the Boko Haram insurgency in the region.

North West:

The North West region in Nigeria has been under the siege of Armed Banditry and other criminal gangs operating in the region. It was observed that the introduction of Operation Sahel Sanity by the Nigerian Army had been the game-changer in addressing the security threats in the region.

According to reliable facts gathered, Operation Sahel Sanity was a huge success, and it effectively addressed the threats posed by armed bandits and other criminal gangs in the North West region.

The issue of cattle rustling has also been reduced to the barest minimum in these states. It was also identified that most of the criminal gangs in operation in the North West region had been decimated by the combined efforts of the Nigerian Military and other critical stakeholders.

The state governments, it was observed also played critical roles by supporting the operations of the security agencies in the region. This much has consequently resulted in an improved security situation in the region and the return of normalcy.

Socio-economic life has also effectively resumed in the North West region as citizens now go about their normal businesses without fear.

Abuja-Kaduna Road:

The Abuja-Kaduna expressway, which serves as the gateway to Northern Nigeria, has been identified as the den of kidnappers forcing travellers to take alternative routes. The activities of kidnappers have been daring, and this has resulted in massive kidnappings. The team of researchers consequently undertook a critical assessment of the security situation on the Abuja-Kaduna road.

It was observed that contrary to the media reports about the activities of kidnappers on the Abuja-Kaduna expressway, there has been a constant security presence on the stretch and this has seen to a reduction in the activities of kidnappers.

It was also observed that, but for the recent attack on the road, there hasn’t been any attack for an extended period due to the various mechanisms put in place by the security agencies and the Kaduna State government.

According to reliable information gathered from stakeholders, the activities of kidnappers on the Abuja-Kaduna expressway has been evolving, and the security agencies have been continuously on the trail of the kidnappers ransacking their hideouts and as well as effecting arrest of informants.

It was also observed that the kidnappings on the Abuja-Kaduna expressway are an organized crime with some locals aiding and abetting criminal gangs that terrorize travellers on the stretch. Nonetheless, the efforts of the security agencies have been outstanding and have been commendable.

Conclusion:

The Coalition of Northern Patriots as a result of the appraisal of the security situation in the 19 states in Northern Nigeria wishes to state that the operations of the Nigerian Military have been very successful in addressing the security challenges posed by criminal elements. This is also on the heels that there has been a concerted effort by some interest groups to undermine the efforts of the security agencies.

This much was traced to the fact that there is a grand conspiracy to undermine the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari through a well-crafted campaign of calumny to discredit the Military, the police force and every organ of the federal government in an attempt to coopt northern youths across the region into participating in their orgy of violence against security agencies, arson and looting as was seen in Lagos, Ibadan and other parts of southern Nigeria.

There is also every indication that the very elements behind the EndSARS protests that intended to cause a violent overthrow of power are out to discredit the Muhammadu Buhari administration in the North by churning out highly misleading information on the security situation in the North.

It is thus the position of the Coalition of Northern Patriots that indeed there have been concerted efforts by the security agencies towards addressing the security threats in Northern Nigeria most proactively and efficiently.

It is also a statement of the fact that there has been a tremendous improvement in the security situation across the 19 Northern states.

Recommendations:

The Coalition of Northern Patriots as a result of the appraisal of the security situation in the 19 Northern States in Nigeria as a result of this makes the following Recommendations:

That the security agencies in Nigeria must continuously review their operational strategies in the light of the evolving nature of the security threats in the country.

That the security agencies must be wary of agents of destabilization that dot the nook and crannies of  Nigeria with an overarching plot to cause a violent overthrow of the government by instigating the populace against the constituted authorities in the country.

That the media should also be wary of some unscrupulous elements that have identified the media as that potent avenue for the propagation of fake news.

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Breaking: CNN Retracts Initial Report Soldiers Killed 38 at Lekki Tollgate During #EndSARS Protest

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The Cable News Network has retracted its initial report, which said operatives of the Nigerian Army killed 38 persons at the Lekki Tollgate in Lagos State on October 20, 2020.

The international broadcaster did this a double retraction on its Twitter handle it titled: “Clarification.”

In the “Clarification,” CNN said it did not attribute the death toll to Amnesty International and also failed to say in the report that the 38 persons killed were not just at the Lekki tollgate but across the country during the #EndSARS protest.

It tweeted: “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.”

But it did both in its tweets and reports anchored by Stephanie Busari on the incident as attached to this report.

Though the first paragraph of the amended story on the incident on October 22, 2020 said the reported 38 deaths on October 20, 2020 was nationwide, what it tweeted on October 23, 2020 was that the military did the killing that day.

In that same first paragraph of the story, the international broadcaster attributed its source of death of 56 persons to Amnesty International, a position it then retreated in the early hours of Friday.

It wrote in the story, which video link is also attached: “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.”

The Nigerian Government had through the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, written a protest letter to the Management of CNN complaining about the authenticity of a report that put together various videos of the Lekki Tollgate shooting.

However, CNN followed it up with a Part 2 of the report.

The Nigerian Army had also disputed both the initial report on the October 20, 2020 shooting and the two parts report on the video evidences CNN claimed justified its position on the shooting incident.

Reactions to the “Clarification” by CNN had been pouring in since it was done at about 10:05pm Nigerian time on Thursday.

However, the broadcaster has not said anything on the two parts report that followed in the last one week.

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/10/22/africa/nigeria-protests-56-dead-jail-fire-intl/index.html

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Lekki Shooting: CNN Carried Out A Hatchet Job On The Army – International Journalists

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The report by Cable News Network (CNN) on the shooting at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos was a “poor” hatchet job targeted at the Nigerian Army, the International Institute for Investigative Journalism (IIIJ) has said.

In an electronic statement signed by special rapporteur, Francois Deburoiche, on Wednesday, the IIIJ said it came to this conclusion following a careful investigation on the events that led to the escalation of violence at the toll gate.

After forensic analysis of CNN’s report, the International Institute for Investigative Journalism noted that there were some missing details in the American television channel’s piece.

According to the institute, the report was carried out in poor taste, lacking professionalism and objectivity. It added that the claim of use of live bullets and testimonies of victims were all tales.

The institute, however, advised the television channel to retract and admit error in the documentary.

Read the full statement below:

The International Institute for Investigative Journalism is issuing this press statement with the best of intents after a careful investigation on the events that led to the escalation of violence at the Lekki Tollgate in Lagos Nigeria during the EndSARS protest.

A team of investigative journalists with extensive experience in conflict situation interrogated the various claims made by the American Cable News Network in its report on the Lekki Shootings and came up with a comprehensive analysis that found gaps that were not filled in the CNN documentation of the events at the Lekki Tollgate in Lagos Nigeria.

Our statement:

The CNN documentary on the EndSARS protest in Nigeria was released to the general public with lots of inaccuracies. These accuracies were detected after an extensive forensic investigation by the International Institute for Investigative Journalism.

It is thus our opinion that the report was carried out in the poor taste, lacking in professionalism and objectivity. This is a great betrayal on journalism by the CNN, which indeed violated the known tenets of journalism.

The videos and images used in the CNN report were not subjected to adequate scrutiny. Consequently, it lacked credibility for use by an organization of repute such as the CNN. This fact was also buttressed by the fact that the CNN report was very hasty in its conclusion by indicting the Nigerian Army of culpability in the events at the Lekki Tollgate.

Our position remains that the CNN erred substantially in its report that was highly misleading to the general public in Nigeria and other parts of the world. The documentary also failed woefully to highlight the events that led to the reign of violence in parts of Lagos state but instead rehashed the issues under different subheadings with minimal evidence that indicts the Nigerian Army of wrongdoing at the Lekki Tollgate.

The International Institute for Investigative Journalism concludes that the CNN documentary was prejudiced in its analysis as well as presentation which fall nothing short of a poor hatchet job with the undeniable intent to discredit the Nigerian Army operation at the Lekki Tollgate in Lagos Nigeria.

The analysis by CNN in the documentary was hasty in its categorization with regards to the use of live bullets by soldiers at the Lekki Tollgate. The report attempted to portray the use of excessive force by soldiers, while the accompanying videos and images did not depict such.

The credibility of those interviewed in the documentary was also suspect with the choice of words and the facial and body expressions of the victims as well as their relatives. Thus much was revealed by forensic analysis as the emotions portrayed didn’t match their words.

Conclusion:

The International Institute for Investigative Journalism is of the considered opinion that the CNN carried out a hatchet job that is targeted at the Nigerian Army institution. We as a result of this classify the CNN documentary as highly misleading and with the capacity to cause disquiet in Nigeria.

The CNN must retract and admit error in submission in its documentary on the Lekki Tollgate shootings. The International Institute for Investigative Journalism faults the CNN documentary in all ramifications.

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