Nigeria: #EndSARS - 'Some Celebrities Fuelled Violence With Fake News'

28 October 2020

Lagos — The National Committee of Yoruba Youth (NCYY) has taken on some Nigerian celebrities, saying their activities fueled the violence that trailed the #EndSARS protest and the Lekki Toll Gate incident on Tuesday last week.

The group decried the misleading reports and fake news allegedly churned out by celebrities.

This is as the southwest youth group vows to drag the identified celebrities to court if they failed to tender a public apology to the Nigerian people and the Nigerian Army.

In a statement signed by the group's National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Gabriel Olatunji, the NCYY said many of the celebrities turned themselves into purveyors of fake news, exploiting the EndSARS crises to incite fear and ethnic divide.

According to the group, these celebrities who have a large following especially on social media, triggered the corresponding violence, looting, and near anarchy through the peddling of fake and misleading news.

The group said their activities were capable of instigating war crimes and genocide in Nigeria.

The statement reads, "Several unsubstantiated issues moved in the media space, no thanks to the seemingly irresponsible activities of some of these celebrities.

"There were stories of death, missing persons, allegations that some unidentified security personnel took the dead bodies away to hide their culpability, accusations that the CCTV cameras were removed and street lights turned off and even the defamation of a personnel of the Nigerian Army, Brigadier General Francis Omata as the leader of the attack on the protesters.

"While we are aware that these celebrities, in their typical mindset, were trying to leverage on the protests to push their profiles, reinvent their brand, and gain followership mileage, it is pertinent to say that these personal interests were pitched against overall national interest.

"Many of the images and contents shared, especially on Monday, October 20, 2020, were nothing but fake.

"These people deliberately churned out the contents from movie productions and turned it to moments from the 'Lekki massacre'. They claimed 78 protesters were killed at the toll gate and even included actress Eniola Badmus.

"Interestingly, the actress and some others falsely linked as casualties came out a few hours after to refute reports of their demise.

"They are now quiet after their Lekki lies, but Nigerians must call them out because they contributed to the violence, looting, and destructions that were carried out by people who thought there was indeed a massacre."

While commending the professionalism of the Nigerian Army "in the face of high-wired conspiracy from these celebrities and their allies, and even some other foreign and local interests who were hell bent on stampeding President Buhari and this administration," the youth group said its preliminary findings show the Nigerian Army was not involved in what the protesters and "their fake news promoters accused them of.

The group said it has perfected litigation plans if the affected celebrities fail to apologise to the Nigerian public and every other person(s) or organisations they might have remotely wronged by their insensitivity.

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