Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Nigeria’s Attorney General
Nigeria has threatened CNN with sanctions over what it alleges is an inaccurate report on the Lekki toll road.
The broadcaster responded that it stands by its report about the alleged “road concession scam”.
“This is a serious matter, where the media only needs to exercise due diligence on this issue and expose it for all to see,” the CNN Africa head, Margaret Griffis, wrote in a tweet.
The Guardian says that Attorney General and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami wrote to CNN saying that it presented “a falsehood”.
The Lagos Area Council says CNN’s March 17 report contained false allegations.
Mr Malami told CNN in a letter seen by the Guardian that “the particular allegation in your report is capable of endangering the integrity of this administration”.
“We are constrained to seek your advice on this matter as you should be aware of the consequences of a frivolous and spurious report,” he wrote.
“The Department of Legal Services in our Ministry has issued a letter of advice that … your misrepresentation contained in your cable television broadcast was misleading and extremely misleading in its factual nature.”
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The toll road was opened in 2008
Mr Malami wants the broadcaster to substantiate its allegations.
“Nigeria is a sovereign nation and as such we can sanction anybody that is responsible for propagating falsehood, and thereby jeopardising the integrity of the country,” he wrote.
The CNN Africa director, Ms Griffis, responded by saying: “We stand by our report about the alleged road concession scam and will continue to challenge the fraudulent and illegal tolls incurred by both the Nigeria Port Authority and the government of Nigeria.”
The Nigerian authorities were forced to defend the toll road’s management in 2017 when the World Bank directed it to suspend a $500m loan – due to be used to expand the road.
The Bank told Nigeria’s parliament in April 2017 that it had revoked the loan because the service fee “raised the charges beyond the level of an estimated 25% annual inflation”.
The row about the toll road began in January 2017 when governors in the Lagos state alleged that billions of naira had been illegally collected in toll fees from motorists.