Systemic Infractions



With ebere wabara

WELCOME to this Easter weekend edition: “Falana gives petroleum ministry 7 days (days’) ultimatum over $60bn revenue loss” (DAILY SUN Headline, April 15)

“NAF jets destroy more bandits stronghold, kill 4 in Zamfara” (Source: as above) A rewrite: NAF jets destroy another bandits’ stronghold, kill 4 in Zamfara

“To me, ACF, Ohaneze, Afenifere should all revert back to that role.” (Politics & Power, April 15) Delete ‘back’ which is encapsulated in ‘revert’.

“Alumni seeks (seek) end to poverty, reaches (reach) out to indigent students” (THISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER Headline, April 13)

“Agbakoba-Onyejanya lights-up (lights up) Sangotedo with Tiger Active Sports Centre” (Global Soccer, April 13)

“Nigeria and the political (politics) of blackmail” (DAILY SUN OPINION Page Headline, April 17)

Lest I am accused of being repetitive in this column, as long as systemic infelicities in multifarious collocations keep recurring, there would be no hesitancy in highlighting them over and over again until scholarly exactitude takes place. The following misapprehensions confirm this infallible position: “Banks lay siege on lawmakers” A rewrite: Banks lay siege to lawmakers.

“Ambode: Four years on the saddle” Again: in the saddle.

“As human beings, we are the highest evolved specie.” (FRSC Road Safety Tip, THISDAY, April 18) For the Corp Marshal’s attention: species.

“Creating a smoke free environment” (THE NATION ON SUNDAY Headline, April 14) Even my racy platform of expression: smoke-free environment! Don’t you appreciate the classicality (and, of course, correctness) of the punctuation mark?

“Nollywood pays last respect for…” There is no absolute individuality in orthography and other aspects of the English language: last respects to (not for, additionally).

“Olohunwa, MC Oluoma mend fence” (Source: as above) This way: mend fences.

“Rooney’s wife looses temper after Twitter user comment” (SATURDAY PUNCH Headline, June 4) In doing this weekly critique, I cannot lose my temper.

“Nigerian seamstress per excellence for Dubai fashion show” (Saturday Independent Headline, April 13) Just seamstress par (not per) excellence

“Efforts so far to speak with the Kogi State Police Public Relation (sic) Officer has (have) proved abortive (now a cliché!)” (SATURDAY TRIBUNE, April 14)

“It now takes residents leaving (living) towards the bus stop….” (THE GUARDIAN, April 18)

“VC accuses lecturers of double standards” There is no periphery of options here: double standard (fixed expression).

“Clearance of non-CRI goods begin (begins) at ports”

“Rohr gets sweeping power” Get it right: sweeping powers.

“…had said that DAILY SUN is (was) a credible publication, one not likely to misquote him or twist what he says in a free display of editorial freedom.”

“Like (As) we have said at various fora….”

“So these are the kind of things that create jobs but they take time to take off fully.”  Either: this is the kind of thing or these are the kinds of things.

“So the government cannot ask the Supreme Court to interprete the law.”  Spell-check, always: interpret.

“Meanwhile, no one can convince me that we are getting returns of any kind from either of these two countries.…” Stock phrase: either of these countries.

“…the reduction in the number of vehicle accidents and casualities (casualties).”

“Self-styled armies sprung (have sprung) here and there …”

“State, council relationship: chairmen pick hole (holes) in 1999 Constitution.”  

“This year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day and Emblem Appeal Week were rounded-off yesterday….” Once more, phrasal verbs do not admit hyphenation.

“The private sector in conjunction with the local governments are in a better position.” The private sector…is (not are), but the private sector and the local governments are….

“At these occasions, Nigerians have been fed with these noble and esteemed virtues that differentiate the men from the boys.”  Not my opinion: On these occasions.

“As a result, majority of the citizens do not even know of the existence of the national population policy of four children per woman.” Many people, small world: a/the majority of the citizens.

“There was no signs in the air” Random musings: why the discord?

“The truth lies somewhere between the two extreme positions” (Already addressed)

“Government has wetted the public appetite for information enough….” Get it right: whetted (note the spelling) the public’s appetite for information.  

“It is these people that Nigerians would ordinarily believe rather than some whose integrity are (is) in doubt.”

“The research aspect of the campaign was targetted (targeted) towards (at)….”

“Between 300 to 500 million people globally get malaria infection yearly, whilst a sufferer dies every fifteen seconds.” Combating the malaria scourge: between 300 and 500 or from 300 to 500.

“In other words, successive budgets have failed to realize its (their) objectives of improving the living standard of the people.”

“The NEIC should swing into action right from the onset (outset in this context).” ‘Onset’ usually smacks of unpleasantness. So, why not ‘outset’ to be on the safe side? This is my own personal view—without any shred of universalism or morphological authority, perhaps.

“If the demand is granted on the ground (grounds) that he would play his own role….”

“Talking about renaming our institutions after our falling (fallen) heroes….”

“The news out of Libya in the past five months have (had) been about killings….” ‘News’ is uncountable, by the way.

“Lateef Jakande as governor of Lagos State warmed (wormed) his way into the hearts of Lagosians with a single-minded pursuit of his housing programme.”

“Querying Africa’s underdevelopment has become a political discipline of it’s own as much that facts are hardly advanced in the critical political human analysis of Africa’s problems.”  Possessive: its.

“…promote international co-operation having due regard to the United Nations charter and the universal declaration of human rights.” In the interest of harmony, let us have regard for (not to) lexical rudiments. Gentlemen of the Press, let’s think!

“All these assertions I concord with totally.” I cannot concur with gradual annihilation of the English language.

“LCCI boss proffers solution on education problems” What solution do we proffer to (not on) deteriorating journalism these days?


GREAT work, Mr. Ebere Wabara: I think you should extend this exercise to the works of our columnists. I thank you.

(Sent in by Mr. Charles Iyoha, Chairman, Academy Ltd)

FROM the front-page headline of Wednesday, April 17, 2019 edition of the DAILY Sun comes this error: “Drama as EFCC takes Ofili-Ajumogobia into custody in (on) court premises” The plural noun `premises’ naturally admits the preposition `on’ , not `in’.

Contributed by Stanley Nduagu/Aba/08062925996