I get pissed off when journalists exhibit profound ignorance or take a nonsensical position about issues that affect our lives as a people. I started journalism carrier 43 years ago until when I veered into public administration as I realised the once noble profession I choose for myself was on the verge of being bastardized by junk journalism.
Journalism as practice has it’s code of ethics that distinguishes it from other professions, just because someone has the flair to write, it does not make him a journalist. He must under go journalism training to be admitted into the noble profession. In a civilized society people appointed as Communication Directors or Press Secretaries in addition to whatever degree or qualification they have, must attend some kind of professional training in journalism that will equip them for the sensitive job. Unfortunately people are appointed to job because they are party spokespersons, or friends to those in the position of power. when they come to the job they become praise singers and embarrassment to the system. Many are there for the glamour and pecuniary benefits.
If it is true Garba Shehu said what he is accused of “ that those farmers massacred in Borno did not get permission before they went to work on their farms on that fateful day then something must be wrong somewhere. It is absurd, reckless, callous, tendentious and regrettable.
Not long ago in a similar vociferous press conference the Minister of information threatened to ban the CNN in Nigeria because they aired film footage of the SAS protest in Lagos. This kind of outburst seems to suggest a pattern of behavior of senior officials in charge of promoting the government image have developed. It is sad that my colleques of the pen have been corrupted by power to the extent they are abusing the basic tenants of there profession.
CNN has since responded that it stand by it’s report and warned if the Minister did not shut up, the network will air a more worst video footage. The Minister has since recluse to his den at ministry’s headquarters without carrying out his threat. The minister ought to have known CNN is not a local media they are group of professionals who are not afraid, influenced by power or some kind of gratifications.
My worry in all these senior officials of the state ought to have known there are conduct of behavior expected from them even though their appointments are political. In a civilized society both the Minister of information and senior adviser to the president on media ought have resigned their appointments or shown the way out.
Lest I forget the chief of Army Staff in a verified Facebook page post made at 7:53pm on the 1st of December said ‘’there is general misunderstanding of what insurgency and terrorism entail “ that there is the likelihood of terrorism persisting in Nigeria for another 20 years” It only depends on the level of escalation and appropriate responses by all stakeholders both civil and military authorities….’’
If the general made these statements some few months before the massacre, ordinarily it would have been considered a good warning and a call on the public to be part of the crusade. But for him to say this some few days after the killings underscores the insensitivity and general pattern of behaviour of officials of this government.
The questions to ask are, what embolden these state officials to behave the way the did? Are there no checks and balance in governance? Where is the failure coming from? For how long can we allow this type of behavior in the conduct of government affairs to continue? Your responses are solicited, please.