CNN, BBC: ‘I’m Disgusted With Coverage Of #EndSARS Protest’ – Buhari
The President said this at a meeting with state governors at the presidential villa in Abuja on Tuesday December 8.
Buhari in a statement released by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, accused CNN and BBC of failing to report about the killing of police officers and attacks on police stations and prisons.
Many Nigerians especially youths in October held protests in major cities, demanding the dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the police and end to police brutality.
The SARS, which was dissolved days into the protest, was notorious for extra-judicial killings, harassment and excessive use of force.
The protest gained global traction with prominent people across the globe lending their voices to the campaign.
The largely peaceful protest was later trailed by hoodlums who unleashed acts such as looting and arson.
However, on October 20, two weeks after the protest began, Nigerian soldiers shot unarmed protesters at Lekki tollgate in Lagos state.
This generated outrage in and outside the country, which even further escalated when the army and Lagos State government initially denied shooting.
Subsequently, the Army admitted that there were present at the scene of shooting but only blank bullets were shot to disperse the crowd.
However, CNN carried out an independent investigation into the actual happenings during the night of the shooting.
The investigation uncovered that protesters were actually shot dead following series of interviews with victims, contrary to denial by FG and Army.
It also revealed that the bullets used are a 2015 brand purchased from Serbia, refuting claims from the army denying the use of live ammunition.
However, Federal Government officials condemned the CNN report as fallacious and irresponsible, calling for the sanction of the media house.
In his first public comment on the coverage of the protests, President Buhari said the foreign media coverage was not balanced.
He specifically accused CNN and BBC of omitting the killing of police officers and attacks on police stations and prisons.
The President expressed;
I was disgusted by the coverage, which did not give attention to the policemen that were killed, the stations that were burnt, and prisons that were opened. (They said we are all at fault. We don’t have the sympathy of anyone. We are on our own).
President Buhari further warned that the government would no longer allow violent demonstrations in Nigeria, adding: “democracy does not mean confusion or lack of accountability”.
On the destruction of private and public property, Buhari said no responsible government would allow such to happen again, stressing;
We do not stop anyone from demonstrating, but you don’t set up roadblocks and smash windscreens. Which government will allow that?