The Ministry of Transport has threatened to block access to CNN International’s Lagos office, and has advised Nigerian representatives not to accept journalists’ questions from external media.
“Your inability to provide, documentary evidence to disprove our contents, encourages unfounded speculation and maligning the Ministry of Transport,” spokesperson Matthew Keresakow wrote in a letter.
The threats came after CNN last week revealed that a Lagos toll gate was closed by Nigerian transport officials on the basis of an erroneous 30-minute delay in collections, and presented screenshots of video footage taken from the area between 6.30 and 7.30pm showing the toll gate open and toll payers admitted into the area.
CNN said that the London-based editor of Nigeria’s Daily Trust newspaper, Adewale Adedun, told CNN that he received the mysterious text message in which it was allegedly said that “when you come with CNN, you would not be granted entry to the office, but to press office.”
CNN has not received any official statement from the transport ministry.
Sigma Consulting, a firm that reportedly negotiated the concession of the toll gate, said in a statement last week that CNN had misconstrued the facts and that it would take appropriate action against the media outlet.