By Seun Adeuyi
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has been criticized by a frontline Rights group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), over his comments on the investigative report by an International Media Organization known as The American Cable News network (CNN, on the alleged shooting of EndSARS protesters by soldiers at the Lekki toll plaza on October 20, 2020.
HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko described Mohammed’s comments as unbridled, irrational, irresponsible, emotional, and totally provocative.
Breaking Times, on Thursday reported that the Minister threatened to sanction CNN over its report on the incident at Lekki toll gate, describing it as “irresponsible journalism”
However, the rights group insisted that the comment by the Minister was shameful, saying he was promoting misinformation by tackling CNN’s report.
“It is shameful that rather than applaud and commend the CNN for it’s deployment of the highest quality of technology to ascertain what exactly took place on October 20th at Lekki tollgate Lagos state, a cabinet level minister in Nigeria paid by the public is rather engaging in warfare against the public.
“What took place today as press conference by the minister has nothing informative and cultural about it, but rather we will look at it from the dimension of cultural tyranny that was displayed by this person who parades himself as the minister of information. He should cover himself in shame.
“The reason for saying this is that the minister is promoting misinformation by fighting qualitaive dissemination of information as was done by the cable news network CNN.
“One would have expected that a government that is working to promote the welfare of the Nigerian people should be exceedingly happy that the CNN has helped us to expose the hidden information by the characters that unleashed violence on the people at the Lekki Toll Gates Lagos on October 20th 2020,” the statement read in part.
Last month, Nigerian youths embarked on a peaceful protest tagged #EndSARS to demand the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit, as well as, other reforms in the Nigerian Police Force (NPF). What started out as a peaceful demonstration by thousands of youths, degenerated into chaos after the protests were hijacked by hoodlums.