The Cable News Network has been trending on Twitter for nearly 14 hours after retracting its initial report, which said operatives of the Nigerian Army killed at least 38 persons at the Lekki Tollgate in Lagos State on October 20, 2020.
The international broadcaster did this as a double retraction on its official Twitter account @CNNAfrica, with the tweet titled: “Clarification.”
The tweet read: “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.”
However, the American news-based pay television was accused of flouting the basic tenets and principles of journalism by its unbalanced reportage.
Some Nigerians said CNN’s report are false and incomprehensible.
The clarification is coming 33 days after the Network released its first report on the Lekki Tollgate shooting.
The direct retraction as at press time on Friday morning had generated about 262 retweets and 323 likes from Nigerians since it was tweeted at about 10:06pm Nigerian time on Thursday.
There had been thousands of comments to the retweets of the retraction and comments on it.
@iyaboawokoya wrote: Hunter is now the hunted. Clarification, noun: ‘the action of making a statement or situation less confused & more comprehensible.’ So you are now admitting to incomprehensibility of your former reports. You are right. Many lies can’t be comprehensible. Just admit error, Nimababe.”
@topsyspecial1: “They cannot wriggle themselves out of this mess without publicly apologising to Nigeria and Nigerians. They flouted the basic tenets n principles of journalism. CNN should also sanction them.”
@Eazymotion: “Indirectly now saying the death toll wasn’t limited to one location. It’s obvious someone is taking steps to preempt editorial investigation. Why revise your tweet 33 days after? New facts or error in old tweet? Who’s the clarification meant for? The FG or the public?”
@ogundamisi: “The half measured ‘Clarification’ by @CNNAfrica did not go far enough.
The initial tweet by @CNN alleging Nigerian Soldiers killed 36 people went viral.
Making up death tolls in a crisis can further escalate an already bad situation. @cnni shouldn’t be engaged in such.”
@Bukolamichael: “CNN has become Clarification News Network. When next you are reporting Nigeria and decides to do hatchet job for divisive elements and toll the line of falsehood, propaganda and one-sided story. It is perpetual clarifications that will follow. More clarifications to do @CNN.”
However, some people came to the defence of CNN, explaining that the clarification was not necessary because the military opened fire on peaceful protesters.
@eaglessight tweeted: “@CNNAfrica should not say nonsense here. ‘… military opened fire on peaceful protesters’ allegedly happened in a location on Tuesday, Lekki Toll. All these clarification ehn ko nesestry rara. They must stand by what they ‘carefully and meticulously’ did. @cnni get ready.”
@sundayikale: “Many APC thugs and killers are here discrediting @cnni efforts so they can continue their killings and go free as usual because the international community doesn’t give a damn. If not for cnn, the world won’t know they shot at peaceful protesters. What goes around, comes back and.”
The Nigerian Government, through the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, reacted to the latest development on Friday in a story published elsewhere on this news website.
The Nigerian Army had consistently insisted it killed no one during the dispersing of the protesters.
CNN, however, followed up the initial report with a two-part report that pieced together videos it obtained before, during and after the shooting incident, which was condemned by both Nigerians and the international community.