The officials — Ade Ipaye, Aderemi Ibirogba, and Tunji Bello — said the government is pursuing “legal action” after the advertorial was published. According to This Day Live, the advertorial was published in “two national dailies.”
PM News Nigeria reported that the advertorial said:
“Governor Fashola, practice what you preach! Unlike the Lekki Toll Protest, the Army has not brutalised any Lagosian. Don’t send police to brutalise Lekki protesters and turn around to condemn the deployment of troops who have brutalised no one.”
The advertorial was “signed by the Social Secretary of One Nigeria Group, Adamu Maimagani” and claimed the police killed a man at a Dec. 17 protest. The Daily Sun explained that the government said that the man who was reported as dead, Femi Ogunsanya, is still alive. At a press conference, the officials claimed that it tried to “portray the State government in a bad light,” according to Leadership.
Ipaye said, “We are taking it serious with this paper because it has thrown professionalism to the winds. We will deal with the paper legally because it has deviated from ethics of journalism based on truth, fair comment and professionalism.”
The government defended itself from the advertorial and claimed that no one was killed in the protest, according to PM News Nigeria. Ipaye also claimed that the Nigerian Tribune’s separate story on the incident was “deliberately doctored…in order to further aggravate the protest and portray the government in bad light before the people.” According to This Day Live, the Nigerian Tribune published a Dec. 18 story claiming that Ogunsanya “was allegedly killed by the police during the scuffle with protestors.” In a Jan. 1 report, the Nigerian Tribune reported that Ogunsanya was not dead despite earlier reports.
The government also plans to “take the matter to the Nigerian press council,” according to Leadership newspaper.
Nigeria’s Press Council was created in 1992 as a self-regulatory body to examine complaints about the media and uphold ethical guidelines, according to its website.
We have written to the Press Council, Lagos State Government and the Nigerian Tribune for comment and will update with any response.