9th May, 2018
TRUMP’S COMMENT ON KILLINGS:
PRESIDENCY SHOULD PUT ITS HOUSE IN ORDER
The Nigerian media recently went agog with US President Donald Trump’s comment on the killing of Christians in Nigeria. Whereas Trump actually said the killing of Christians and Muslims were unacceptable to the United States, majority of the Nigerian media mentioned Christians alone and excluded Muslims from Trump’s speech.
This gave the impression that the American president welcomed the killing of Muslims or that he was probably unaware that Muslims too were being killed in Nigeria. The lopsided press report naturally provoked Muslim groups like the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) and the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN), forcing them to lash out at the US president.
It has since been revealed that President Trump had (towards the end of his remarks) added the need for the Nigerian government to protect ‘innocent civilians of all faiths, including Muslims and Christians’ but Nigerian reporters left this out. The Nigerian Presidency later described the biased media report as unfair and condemned the Muslim groups for their reactions.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) rejects the presidency’s condemnation of the Muslim groups who reacted to the report. Rather it is the presidency who should put its house in order. The presidency should have corrected the biased Nigerian media’s report immediately it broke out.
He who must eat with the devil must possess a long spoon. Government’s information agencies must be faster than mainstream media outfits. Neither should the presidency expect Muslim groups to fold their arms while the Muslim population is exposed to ridicule, disdain, threats, blackmail and coercion. Gone are the days when Nigerian Muslims were sitting ducks.
The Federal Government (FG) should follow the example of the Kaduna State government. A journalist who authored a false publication was charged to court about two years ago by the state government. This is what FG should do. Freedom of the press must be guaranteed but unprofessional conduct must be sanctioned. Biased or false reportage is dangerous. It is capable of setting the country on fire. There must be scapegoats. People must be held accountable for their actions. The reason why things are not moving in this country is that Nigerians have a laissez faire mindset. This is not acceptable in journalism.
MURIC commends the American president for its quick condemnation of the killing of 71 Muslims in the twin bombing at Mubi in Borno State on Tuesday, 1st May, 2018. We appreciate the support of the Trump administration for the Nigerian government in its war against terrorism, insurgency and brigandage.
We firmly express our solidarity with the American people who are known not only for their love for democracy, but for their humane disposition to people of all races. We condemn terrorism and all acts of violence against America in particular and the West in general. We reject all messages of hate, particularly those directing Muslims to kill citizens of the West and to target Western interests.
As we round up, we invite the Nigerian government to find a way of dealing with media outfits who engage in biased or false reportage. We charge the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), the Nigerian Press Council (NPC) and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to collectively enforce the ethics of the profession.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)