EL-RUFA’I, CHANNELS TV AND IRRESPONSIBLE JOURNALISM IN NIGERIA

By

John Danfulani,PhD

[email protected]

[email protected]

“The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting an independent press. We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes” John Swinton

On 6th April 2016 Governor Nasir Ahmed El-rufa’i of Kaduna State was a guest on Channels TV Sunrise Daily. Because the period coincided with a Kaduna State organized summit tagged “KADUNA INVESTMENT SUMMIT” the Sunrise Daily of Wednesday 6th April 2016 was broadcasted from Kaduna City. Mr. El-rufa’i ran some marathon analyses of a  gamut of issues- all in a bid to convince  Nigerians and foreign investors that honoured his invitation that Kaduna State has the wherewithal to provide physical security as well as that of their investments. In other words, his much advertised mission of making Kaduna Great Again has already converted his State to an investor’s haven.

While displaying his achievements in providing physical and investment securities, he made statements  that were not rooted on facts nor any known history.His mischievous claims didn’t only throw kitchen sink on Southern Kaduna people but created a tale not accounted in any history book in Nigeria and beyond. The first claim of the  “Accidental Public Servant” was that, the population of the state is made up of 70% Muslims and 30% Christians. His second piqued that over 800 hundred people were killed in post 2011 elections crisis and most of the killings took place in Southern Kaduna. Mr. El-rufa’i’s third major claim in the television interview in focus was his assertion  that post 2011 election violence caught up with trans-borders Fulani grazers in Southern Kaduna. These three grand claims that bordered Christians and  the people of Southern Kaduna were not accidentally stated by Mr. El-rufa’i but incidentally spewed to blackmail, malign, and denigrate Christians and the good people of Southern Kaduna.

On his 70/30 percent ratio,Mr. El-rufa’i knows that he has no recognizable and credible data to support the statistic he threw to his local and international audience. To the best of my knowledge, Nigeria Population Commission( NPC) is the only body constitutionally charged with head count. And in their last exercise, there was no data that inquired peoples religion. If this truth is self evident, from where did the “Accidental Public Servant ” got his 70/30 ratio?  Lest we forget, the demographics of the last census favoured Local Governments(LGs) in the Southern part of the state. Because last NPC exercise ended the long standing mythology that LGs in the Northern half of the State are more populous than those of the South, almost all the LGs in the north went to court challenging the figures. Since no verdict has been given, the projected annual increment ought to have guided his utterance on this matter. And had that guided him,he would have been careful in releasing his contentious ratio. The question begging for answer is; was Mr. El-rufa’i ignorant of these facts? I will be the last person to believe he is.

Regarding his statement that over 800 people were annihilated in post 2011 elections crisis and most of the terminations occurred in Southern Kaduna,this is also not founded on facts.After the 2011 post elections, a commission of inquiry was established  in Kaduna State by the Government of Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa of blessed memory. The commission gave individuals and groups the chance to appear, state the causalities of the crisis, and present claims of lives and properties lost. A compilation of claims made by people and groups  did not compliment the figure stated by Mr. El-rufa’i in that interview. If a commission set up by Kaduna State government is the authentic document with claims by relatives and bodies of lives sent to the great beyond , where was the source of his statistic? And from the list attached in the final draft of the report, areas where incidences that engineered exits of people out this world weren’t stated. So, how did he arrived at the conclusion that most of the pogrom took place in Southern Kaduna?

On the last  contentious claims that post 2011 election crisis coincided with a time Trans-border grazing Fulanis were returning home and caught up in the crisis, Mr. El-rufa’i only told a fairy tale not known in Southern Kaduna or engraved in any history book. There is no history showing that Southern Kaduna is a pass  of such an annual movement. In fact, there is no history certifying  existence of such a massive movement of cattle grazers from Senegal down to Nigeria and Vice vaca . Southern Kaduna people want Mr. El-rufa’i to reference a credible history book written by European historians containing his absurd  claim. One is not talking of newspapers articles or works of historians of some northern universities whose scholarship is tailored towards rewriting history and creating heroes of a particular race and religion. Or any document from the colonial archive in London agreeing with his unfounded postulation. There is no doubting the fact that  he created this story to justify the near genocide that occurred  in Southern Kaduna between 2013 and 2015 that he called reprisal assaults from men with a long memory.

Surprisingly, Mr. El-rufa’i made these spurious narrations  without questions from the three Channels TV journalists that interviewed him. They were rather bamboozled by the eloquence and bombastic nature of their guest’s  deliberate distortion of facts and history. When the three heard of 70/30 ratio of Muslims and Christians, what stopped the trio  from posing a follow-up questions by asking him the source of his statistic? Are they also claiming ignorance of the fact that our last census data didn’t asked of people’s religion?  How weak is their knowledge of history not to know that if there was an annual movement of Fulanis along West Africa belt social studies books would have given account of it? He accused the press of underreporting the 2011 post elections killings. Are his interviewers  not suppose to ask if indeed the mayhem was poorly reported, what was the source of his story? And finally, he tried portraying the butchering of Southern Kaduna people by kith and kin of those he alleged were caught up on transit. What stopped the Channels Television crew from asking whether reprisal is allowed in Nigeria?  I believe Channels Television crew deliberately played Mr. El-rufa’i’s script by allowing him walked away with claims that even a teenager knows are not true.

Because his statements are damaging to Christians in Kaduna and falsely fashioned for ulterior motive, i wrote Channels TV on the 12th and 16th April 2016 highlighting these issues and indicated my interest to coming up to a fresh programme to give other versions to their guest of 6th April 2016 claims. Added to my official emails, I made phone calls to their office to inquire whether my mails have been received, they said they have seen my mails. As I write this piece,no official response from Channels Television accepting my request. Their refusal is a clear indication that, they have thrown their professional ethics, decorum, and honour to the dogs.

Their refusing me a chance to take-on Mr. El-rufa’i’s tantrums and diatribes is a clear demonstration of a hidden intend that borders political and other forms of patronages they are getting from Mr. El-rufa’i and his troop of riggers of history. One can also state with a clear conscience that Channels Television have succumbed to a scheme designed to downsize  the number of Christians in Kaduna State and label Southern Kaduna mindless killers. Channels Television have also tacitly  justified the near genocide that occurred in Southern Kaduna between 2013 to 2015 under the guise of reprisal. Channels Television must have accepted this contract because they know that no Southern Kaduna man or Christian has a media outlet that can balance their treachery.  This has finally  exposed them and made them Swinton’s jumping jacks that destroys reality and denigrate people.

We have goodnews for Channels Television and their paymaster(s), there is no weapon fashioned against Christians in Kaduna  State and Southern Kaduna people that shall prosper.They must also know that, at no time in history were our peoples defeated by any indigenous empire builders. Even the Europeans that ran through some so-called mighty political settings that are claiming to be the best and widest in West Africa in a few days with ease of knife on butter had a tough time in Southern  Kaduna. History has it that, we are the toughest, rugged, and bravest in this 1914 contraption called Nigeria.

Let me close this reaction by quoting the Psalmist (2:1-4 NKJ) “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision”.

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