Thursday, January 18, 2007

Nigeria was recently in the news again. As is always the case, when I hear 'Nigeria' come out of the mouth of most U.S. journalists, I again braced myself for impact. I recorded the ABC piece on 419 but chose not to watch it until after enjoying my Christmas and New Year. Thank God, I made that decision because I was livid after viewing the program.

An attempt to draft a response and complaint went down the drain. My computer froze and I seemingly lost my document. Anyway, until I can compose myself to get back on track, I thought I would post a response that was written by Oluseyi Sonaiya and can be found here.

I am also attaching Mr. Sonaiya's response in the body of this blog. Thank you, sir, for putting your thoughts to 'paper' and expressing what many of us are feeling. I have been shocked to not see more outrage from our people and government about the constant negative portrayals of everything Nigerian here in the U.S.A. I have come to understand that Nigeria actually has a P.R. agent - Andrew Young's GoodWorks International. If Mr. Young is being paid a cent by the Nigerian government for Public Relations services, then I must insist that whoever made that decision and everyone involved in issuing those paychecks be SHOT!!!! Yes, a little drastic and extreme, but considering my frustration, public executions for wayward public servants is probably what we need. And if the reputable Mr. Young is not Nigeria's P.R. agent, then whoever that is needs to be sacked. If we don't have a P.R. agent, I hereby volunteer to take on the task for a minimal fee. God knows we need some good press.

Enough of my ranting, please read the following article.

ABC, how dare you?

In his recent report for ABC's 20/20 (Friday, December 8, 2006), Brian Ross carelessly characterizes the attitudes of Nigerians, suggesting that the advance fee fraud is, I quote, "so widely accepted that there is a hit song celebrating ..." the scam. In his report, Mr. Ross says that the scam "industry" involves thousands of mostly young men - this in a country with a population north of 150 million people - yet he sees it as "so widely accepted."

Particularly bothersome is his description of Lagos as a "corrupt, crime-ridden disgrace of a city." How dare you, Mr. Ross? A disgrace?! In what way is Lagos - which, incidentally, describes a state, in the context in which Mr. Ross uses it - any more corrupt than New York or Washington, D.C.? Like those two it is a highly populated center of industry, attracting newcomers from less industrialized areas of the country seeking gainful employment. Like those two it is overpopulated, taxing resources and infrastructure, meager as they are, beyond their limits. Consequently, like New York and Washington, D.C., there is a fair amount of crime, much of it born of poverty and desperation, though sustained by greed.

The true problems of Nigeria are hardly ever identified in these various "exposés" and "special reports." Instead Nigeria is painted as casually corrupt, as though avarice were a choice willingly made by the majority of Nigerians. The desperate poverty of the majority of the populace, thanks to decades of mismanagement by military dictatorships and veritable plundering by multinational corporations such as Shell Petroleum, who along with competitors Chevron and Mobil have collectively helped to devastate the traditional fishing waters of the Ogoni people in their search for crude oil, means that there is a shortage of opportunity for the bright, hardworking and industrious young people of Nigeria. Those who are not able to secure jobs then do what their kind have always done - they turn to crime.

We are asked to sympathize with gullible Americans who fell for second-grade quality schemes due to their own greed, but in the same breath, we are asked to vilify equally greedy Nigerians?

What is most embarrassing to an ostensible news gathering organization like ABC is that the local economy in Nigeria is tremendously improved. Communications infrastructure, in the form of cost effective GSM cellular telephones, is spreading like wildfire, while the relative stability of eight years of democratic rule and a hopeful forthcoming smooth transition are gradually restoring facilities. Nigeria is making its own way out of poverty through almost entirely internal means, but this doesn't register on the radar of the ABC News organization. Only scandal and disaster matter to them, and they will, at least in the form of Mr. Ross and his team, summarily dismiss the whole on the basis of the part.

That is the real "disgrace."

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hajodeprincess said...

oh my! This is a good one dear, please keep it up, and i wish other press men will toe your path to really tell the whites what they need know. They are always portraying crime from afica, never reporting any good dev; whereas every crime emanates from them and is more rampant there

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