Vigilance, not Vigilante, Groups

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Media Gaffes

By Ebere wabara

DAILY Sun Editorial of July 1 started this month on a disastrous lexical note: “It is heartening that the probe committee, comprising of (why?) officials of the ICPC and the supporting bodies have (has, for goodness’ sake!) visited the sites of projects….” Yank out the ‘of’ after ‘comprising’. ‘Committee’ can take a plural verb, but not in this technical case.

“Emefiele (Emefiele’s) 2nd term…”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

“…it’ll resolve farmers/herders (herders’) conflicts—Presidency”

“Ministerial list: Some immediate past (immediate-past) ministers to return”

“Following recent setbacks by (to) the Nigerian Army in the war against insurgency….” (THISDAY Front Page Lead Story, June 29)

THISDAY PLUS of the above edition did not give me joy at all: “Seeing lives transformed from simple things I teach give (gives) me joy”

DAILY SUN Opinion Page blunder of June 19 takes over from THISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER: “In fact, some parents, in a feat (fit/outburst) of anger, place curses on their children.”

“The eight (eighth) House will be remembered as one assembly with ambitious initiatives….” (Politics & Power, June 19) 

“We’re investing sustainably into (in) Nigeria’s future…” (Tech & Gadgets Banner, June 19)

The next two headline errors are from THISDAY of June 22: “FG directs immediate resumption of History study to (in) schools”

“Osun Assembly press (presses) for security summit for strategy against criminals”

“1980 AFCON winner, Charles Bassey (another comma) ill, solicits for help” Delete ‘for’ from the extract. It would have been a classical piece of writing if the headline had ended at ‘solicits’.

“13 killed in soldiers, insurgents (insurgents’) gun battle” (DAILY Sun Front Page Kicker, June 24)

Sporting Sun Front Page headline howler of June 24 takes over from THISDAY: “Super Falcons protest over (against) unpaid bonuses” The headline is even better without ‘against’.

“We’re determined to end herders, farmers (farmers’) clashes—Buhari”

“If vigilante (vigilance) groups are allowed to be established across the country.…” (DAILY Sun Opinion Page, June 26)

THE GUARDIAN Back Page Sub-headline of June 20 disseminated a diseased line:”Senate may review BPE Act, says no witch-hunting” (witch-hunt)

From the above edition comes the next juvenile word error: “President Muhammadu Buhari said there is (was) no political undertone to the move.” Reporters who do not know the rudiments of reported speech writing have not begun intellectual journalism. I recommend celebrity genre of the profession for such neophytes! 

“Trees as antidote against flood” (DAILY INDEPENDENT Metro Headline, June 18) My antidote to (not against) lexical slipshoddiness is carefulness in collocation. 

Another spelling interlude: “NASS seeks funds for excercise” (DAILY TRUST Headline, June 18) Spell-check: exercise.

“And the electorate has (have) been taken for a ride because….”

THE NATION SPORT of June 16 boldly advertised illiteracy in just one inarticulate and lengthy paragraph that unfortunately was lifted as the centre-spread quote. You can deduce the character of the two-page article from this extract: “This year’s edition of the National Sports Festival was marred with (marred by) series (a series) of protests by many states against the medal haul (medals haul or the haul of medals) by the host which they believe was achieved by dubious means. States like Bayelsa, Edo and Kaduna could not hide their feelings as they pointed accusing fingers on (they pointed the finger at) the ways and manner (ways and means) by which Team Rivers dominated every event they partake (partook in).” What a scandalous and utterly embarrassing piece of sports journalism!  

“Kano athletes poise for war over NSF reward” (SUNDAY TRIBUNE Headline, June 17) I am not poised for war. This reminds me of one of the titles in the heyday of Daily Times, Poise, which was edited by vivacious Medline Tador in the 90s.

“Bereaved Nigerian mother lashes Austria over son’s death”   Fixed expression: lashes out at Austria.

“South African minister to clampdown on guns” Noun: clampdown; phrasal verb: clamp down (which applies here).

 “Rediscovering the African idiom at World Music Day” Art and Life: on World Music Day.

“Otherwise, somewhere down the line with their loots, these men would continue to come back to rape the polity.”  ‘Loot’ is uncountable.

“Resident doctors in neighbouring Ghana went on strike less than a week before our own strike and theirs have (has) since been resolved.”

“Perhaps, Akinwunmi Ambode’s roads was (were) never meant to withstand ‘satanic’ rains, the type that has been tormenting Lagos.”  

“Others are outrightly ugly.”  This is American corruption of language.  British Standard English: Others are outright ugly.

“Kidnapped people were turned into beasts of burden to cart away all RUF booties (booty).”  

“They point accusing fingers towards female prostitutes who are girlfriends to the armed robbers and provide those anti-social miscreants accommodation and succour to perpetuate their despicable crimes.” Delete ‘accusing’ and point the finger at (not towards) prostitutes.  And this: anti-social miscreants? Miscreants are naturally anti-social. This is the summit of illiteracy and loose thinking!

“It will present events in the two chambers, record achievements, gossips and behind-the-scene moves of the assemblymen.”  ‘Gossip’, in this context, is uncountable.

“Shoot-at-sight order in Borno State” Get it right: shoot-on-sight order 

“The last but not the least is about corruption” No task: the last but not least.

“These children disappeared atimes from home after their parents had gone to search for daily bread.” Children for sale: at times.

“No sooner had the morning papers commenced at (on) the main campus of the university at about 10 a.m.” Either at or about 10 a.m. ‘At about’ smacks of thoughtlessness and uncertainty.

“Having shown that he means business, all shades of people are quickly jumping into (on or aboard) the ‘anti-corruption’ bandwagon.”

“Another feather to (in) Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s cap” 

“Following reports of molestation and harassment of law-abiding citizens by members of vigilante groups supposedly in anti-robbery patrol….”  Get it right: vigilance committees.

“I literarily (literally) saw the yoke of military rule.”

“…the officials who would be carrying files from Abuja to Lagos to treat in the morning and return them back in the evening. No linguistic sabotage: delete ‘back’.

“…several universities from across the universe were practically falling over themselves (one another) to give Mandela one honorary award or the other (another).”

“Staff correspondent x-rays the government White Paper on the two organizations…and related companies in the industry.  ‘White Papers’ are issued exclusively by governments. So, delete ‘government’.

Wrong: non-challance; right: nonchalance.

“…the desire by the president to utilize best hands available in the running of government in these trying times….” Just an aside: do you utilize what is unavailable?