Diseased Expressions


Media Gaffes 

With Ebere Wabara

YOU are welcome to our language clinic: “Tekno arrested for parading half naked girls” There is nothing like ‘half naked’, but scantily clad. ‘Half naked’ is Nigerian English, just like ‘beer parlour’ among other countless diseased expressions.

“Trailer crushes 2 to death in Benue” I am always amazed when I come across this kind of headline. Is it possible for a trailer to CRUSH someone and the person survives? Except there is divine intervention, that cannot be possible! Therefore, trailer crushes 2 in Benue 

“FG plans review of revenue sharing (revenue-sharing) formula

“But the All Progressives Congress (APC), which is the leading opposition party….” (Power & Politics, August 7) How can the ruling party be an opposition party?

“May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace.” (Full-page advertorial by Government of Enugu State of Nigeria, DAILY SUN, August 7)  Yet another local interjection: “rest in perfect peace”. Which ‘peace’ is imperfect? The standard entry is ‘rest in peace (RIP)’.

“…on the occasion of his centenary birthday anniversary yesterday….” Please delete ‘anniversary’ which is encapsulated in ‘birthday’.

“Payback period is between 3-10 years.” (Full-page advertisement by Access Bank, THISDAY, August 10) Access more funds for your passion: between 3 and 10 years or from 3 to 10 years

“As long as life and memory lasts (last) (a coma)you are always in our hearts.”

“Rest on in the bossom (bosom) of the Lord….”

 “Achuba said the feud has (had) led to the stoppage of his salaries….”

From SOUTH EAST NEWS of August 14 comes the next blunder: “But Owelle Okorocha has consistently maintained that he was been (being) witch-hunted.”

“Leboku festival: Cross River partner (partners) 12 communities”

“Flying Eagles invitee (player) joins Watford” Still on Nigerian creations: there is no such word (invitee) in formal writing.

“Condolence by in-laws, friends and well-wishers continue” Get it right: condolence continues or condolences continue

“…disclosed that there was no way he could have stolen what was non-existence (non-existent).” (NATIONAL NEWS, August 28)

Abuja’s melting point (pot) of darkness, light” (Abuja METRO Banner, August 28)

“Something happened recently in Oyo State few (a few) days ago….” (Politics & Power, August 28)

“SIFAX Group invests…on (in) cane”

“WebTv stations now require license (licence) to broadcast in Nigeria”(THISDAY Front Page, August 24) Truth & reason: licence (noun—which should apply here) and license (verb) in Standard English. The excerpt is an American corruption of the word which, rather unscholarly, makes no distinction between the noun and verb forms!

“…should be licensed to bring sanity into (to) the industry.” (Source: as above)

Still on THISDAY front page under focus: “Borno governor meets with Buhari over upsurge in Boko Haram attacks” Delete ‘with’ on grounds of its redundancy in the context.

“The fraudsters, majority based in Nigeria, were involved in a series of coordinated (would it have been uncoordinated?) scam (scams) running into millions of dollars fraudulently obtained from victims in the United States and other parts of the world.”

“My medical background often impact (impacts) on the kind of movies I produce”

“I thank President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR (another comma) whose benevolence and love for Akwa Ibom State has (have) been demonstrated in (by) this appointment….” ‘Love’ is a gargantuan entity on its own and cannot be collapsed into singularity with another equally phenomenal concept as typified by ‘benevolence’.

“Your achievements in our dear state, especially in the area of good governance (another comma) have been very impactful in (on) the lives of our people.”

“Ebute, ex-Senate president, lashes (lashes out at) Soyinka, Falana, others over Buhari…says they are traditional trouble makers (troublemakers)” He did not flog them as portrayed by the extract.

“…but also solve the (sic) youth unemployment problem, reduce poverty and create wealth.” (DAILY Sun Editorial, August 21) Voice of the nation: ‘unemployment’ is a problem on its own and does not require any otiose embellishment like ‘problem’! A rewrite: but also solve youth unemployment, reduce poverty and create wealth.

“…I heartily congratulate our worthy and outstanding brother on your (his—going by the context of the message) as the (a) minister-designate Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Wrong: well deserved appointment

Right: well-deserved appointment

The same thing applies to this: “God fearing man”—which means, as it is, that God fears man! Get it right: God-fearing man.

“…as you have always make (made) something out of nothing….”

“Experts urge government to introduce more market friendly (market-friendly) reforms” (THE BUSINESS REPORT, August 26)

“How to check influx of smuggled goods—Stakeholders” (Source: as above) Instead of ‘smuggled goods’, use ‘contraband’, which, by the way, is uncountable.

“PPA: Magodo residents commend Ikeja Electric over (for) improved power supply”

“…yes I admit that most of them are from my tribe (ethnic group)….” ‘Tribe’ is derogatory! 

“Nobody was surprised because it is (they are) his usual antics more so for a man well known for his theatrics.”

From SOUTH EAST NEWS of August 26 comes this: “Ihedioha reassures on new Imo” Who did he reassure? 

“The struggle for the creation of Enugu State came into (to) limelight following the sustained agitation against social justice meted (meted out) to….”                                                                                                                                         “The feeling is that many don’t want to be seen to take a position which would be interpreted as confrontational and as such they have resulted (resorted) to lobbying prominent figures outside government to….”

“These 17 luxury cars and SUVs of the former governor which will make any Arabian Sheik grin (green or green with envy) are parked in his GRA Jos adopted home. 

“The actual name of the person expected to chairman (chair/preside over) this occasion is….”

Wrong: atimes; right: at times (two words)

“Those who have the power to release the suspect but are passing the bulk (buck) to the courts should be informed that it is against the national interest to refuse to release….”

“The former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, explained that it was not the first time that banks would be liquidated and that the history of bank failure in the country dated (dates) back to 1958 or 1959.” Note: dates back to or dates back from is a stock expression. 

“In reaction to the leaflets being circulated, the Kano State Commissioner of Police…made a radio and television broadcast telling the people to ignore the leaflets which he described as the handiwork of mischieve (mischief) makers.” Special note: make-believe (not make-belief).