Nigeria threatens CNN over report on tollgate

Nigeria’s federal government on Monday threatened CNN with sanctions after the international TV news network reported that a congestion of vehicles leaving a toll gate in Lagos was degrading the city’s environment and razing…

Nigeria threatens CNN over report on tollgate

Nigeria’s federal government on Monday threatened CNN with sanctions after the international TV news network reported that a congestion of vehicles leaving a toll gate in Lagos was degrading the city’s environment and razing homes.

“These irresponsibly false stories on false information will not go unanswered,” read the brief statement from the office of the federal ministry of information in Abuja. “Any news and report from CNN or other international media outlets which is either not in the interest of peace, stability and unity of Nigeria will be treated accordingly.”

Hours earlier, CNN had featured a report that said drivers were being forced to pay fees that “easily approach $200” each time they exit a tollgate outside Lekki Lagos. The report also said that some drivers have been barred from doing so while roads remain packed with traffic. CNN’s Barbara Starr and Amar Bhattacharya noted that there was no local official or government body responsible for inspecting that part of the toll gate’s facilities. “When asked whether the authorities plan to regulate prices or set mandatory fees, the spokesperson said the government didn’t have to do that,” the report read.

Some Nigeria residents applauded the report, saying it was long overdue. But not everyone appreciated the implications. On Monday, an official of the government’s aviation ministry told the Financial Times that the government was investigating whether the CNN story was accurate.

“What we’re not denying is that many of the vehicles that are exiting that toll gate are also entering the terminal,” the ministry official said, adding that the gates may need to be closed when the terminals are empty. The official told the Financial Times that authorities would also investigate why vehicles on the road were making unauthorized stops.

The presidency’s office denied that the president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, had ever supported the introduction of toll gates.

Read the full story at Financial Times.

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