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The Nigerian government has rejected as “fake news” a report that 19 police officers were killed in a shootout while trying to rescue abducted staffers from the Lekki toll gate in Lagos.
Lagos state police chief Edgal Imohimi said in a statement that the report was false and unverified.
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The shootout took place over the weekend when the workers, all of them women and children, were taken from the control centre where they were monitoring the toll gate.
The report was based on interviews with a police officer on duty during the shooting, a driver of a bus and the relatives of the kidnapped people.
The minister of information, Lai Mohammed, had criticised a CCTV footage of the shootings that was broadcast on national television on Saturday.
Mohammed, who is close to the president, Muhammadu Buhari, said images from the camera, which he did not identify, gave the appearance of civilians overpowering the police. He said the footage was being investigated but provided no details.
Mohammed was reported to have told parliament that national security agencies would investigate the incident.
The toll gate is an air traffic control facility operated by a private company, Africa One, owned by Guinean businessman Gbenga Balogun.