In the past few days, the hearts of genuine citizens of our great nation have bled over the news of the killing of a female Christian preacher by alleged Muslim fanatics in Kubwa area of the FCT, Abuja. I was actually alerted by a friend’s ext message because although i reside in the affected area, I was far away in Ibadan, Oyo State, as at the time of the incident. As an average concerned Nigerian, i thought, when will this nation be free from religious and ethnic crises? But as a journalist and one with eye for investigation, I knew I had a duty at hand. So, on my return to the city, I visited the particular street, the particular spot, conducted personal investigation and secret interviews, and made several findings. I became sad! Why? Most of the information doled out by our media are NOT TRUE! For the avoidance of doubt, there was no evidence of anyone present when the woman died. Witnesses only said they met her dead. Secondly, i did not find anyone to confirm that any part of the woman was missing or mutilated. I talked with one who saw the corpse early that morning, with two policemen, before the news went viral. Thirdly, there was no mosque in that street or behind the spot. Fourthly, the vicinity had been under the torment of cultism in the past few months, in fact, two separate persons were found killed and dumped in the area recently, one of them on the street adjacent this particular one. The police is actually on the trail of s notorious cult who is believed to have sneaked into and hiding in the area. The police is insisting that they met the corpse body intact. But, alas! What my colleagues wrote were terrifying. In fact, it revived hatred, instigated religious intolerance and personal mistrust. I am sure many of you journalists who wrote the story were not in Abuja, you just received the news from friends and forwarded to your headquarters, which also did not verify before going to press. I also know that many of those in Abuja then did not visit the place, nor conduct proper investigation. For an issue as critical as religion and ethnicity, most of you goofed! The media is an indefatigable player in nation building, and no society is firmly built on negligence and mistrust as being displayed by our journalists. But, the media houses too are at fault. Most of them pay peanuts for staff while the few at the top swim in affluence. Where, then, is the resource and motivation for the reporter to carry out investigative reporting and due diligence. To survive, many journalists are pipers in the hands of politicians, religious leaders and businessmen and even government, who dictate their tune. Yet, the masses are at the receiving end because they naturally hold on to the news from the media. It is a hell a times, to change the people’s perception on issues, over which our media had made serious blunders. I had had to show identity cards to some, before they agree to reason along the right perspective. The corruption on the media is much, but our colleagues can just help hold on to the truth.
Adeshina is a journalist