On Friday, September 15, virtually all Nigerian dailies had as their front cover stories and pictures the “IPOB/Military face-off in the South East” with different kickers, banner headlines and riders – depending on whose interest they are serving in the crisis.
Evidently, the agitation for Biafra by the Nnamdi Kanu-led IPOB is the number 1 news on the lips of many Nigerians. As such, no media would want to miss out.
Unfortunately, out of five (5) newspapers – The Punch, The Guardian, New Telegraph, Daily Independent and Daily Trust – I managed to secure for this analysis, only one (1) – Daily Trust – acknowledged on the cover headline IPOB attacks on Muslims at Oyigbo in Rivers State, with the cover picture of members of Rivers State Council for Islamic Affairs (RSCIA) during a news conference held on Thursday to address the crisis. (Check pic 1)
Note that other media were at the conference. They did attend the press conference, and watched the Muslim representatives narrate how the IPOB members attacked innocent Muslims at the famous Central Mosque in Oyigbo Local Government, only for them to downplay the attacks on the Muslims in yesterday’s edition of their newspapers.
Or do they want the Muslims to pay for front cover coverage of their story?
In the one and a half page coverage of the crisis (including cover headlines and pictures as appeared in pic 2) of The Punch, no mention was made of the attack on Muslims in Rivers state in the IPOB/Military face-off stories written by 7 Correspondents across Nigeria. Check pages 7/35 for all the full stories.
There was also no mention of the attack in the New Telegraph (check also page 2, 3 and 6), as well as The Guardian’s front cover stories. (Check pic 3 and 4). Daily Independent only published a 3-paragraph story from the RSCIA press conference and hid it inside page A8. Check pic 5.
The exclusion of the attacks on Muslims from the front cover headlines (or even as riders) was a deliberate attempt to downplay the attacks as if they never occurred or were just “mere claims” by the Rivers Muslim leaders.
Many thanks to Daily Trust, which gave the Muslim community a resounding voice. The Abuja-based newspaper could have joined the ranks of the Muslim bashers, but for the passion it has for Islam (content wise, it reflects Islam) and Northerners. The newspaper dedicated its front cover to the RSCIA story (pic 1), as explained at the press conference where the Muslim community warned IPOB “to stop unwarranted attacks and killing of Muslims in the State.” (Check pg 5/6)
It is unfortunate that some newspapers are yet to report the Rivers IPOB attack, which is already everywhere on social media. Some will never publish it, because the victims are Muslims. What is that word for the person who hides the truth in order to deceive the people?
However, I am afraid? You know why? There must not be a reprisal attack of Igbo in the North, because the biased, Christian-dominated media will not spare the Northerners, as they have always been victims of negative media reportage.
Unlike the South East elders who condoned IPOB’s lawlessness and got away with it because of their enormous media power, the Northern leaders will not be so lucky if they fail to call their youths to order.
Thank God, the Leader of the Nigerian Muslims, the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji Abubakar Sa’ad III is already spreading the message of peace; preaching against negative actions, and insisting that, “Nigerians can live in peace with one another irrespective of their tribal, ethnic, or religious differences.”
By the way, I have seen a couple of media (particularly online) referring to one Abdulkadir Erkahraman as a Turkish diplomat! The Sun Online of July 17 wrote: “Turkish government seeks partnership with IPOB leadership”; Vanguard News headline of July 15 reads: “Turkish Diplomat Visits Nnamdi Kanu”; and Daily Post shamelessly quoted Mr Erkahraman in its headline of September 15, saying “Biafra Army will soon kill President Buhari”. Is this not absurd?
Who made Mr Erkahraman a Turkish envoy? It is the Nigerian media of course or rather, the IPOB propaganda media disguising as a socially, morally, and ethically responsible media. It is a failed attempt to smear the good relationship that exists between Nigeria and President Tayyip Erdogan’s country, Turkey.
Mr Erkahraman is an impostor and according to reports from the Turkish Embassy in Nigeria, he is an agent of the Fetullah Gulen Terrorist Group, with the agenda to sow seeds of discord between Nigeria and Turkey.
It is our job as journalists to put our country first by exposing evil agents who want to use the IPOB agitation to destabilise Nigeria. I leave you with this quote attributed to Betty Irabor, a Nigerian writer and columnist. She wrote: “Dear journalists, remember that the news you put out there can further exacerbate the on-going crisis. Be professional, avoid fake news. Nation first.”