Through, Not Before, Courts


Media Gaffes

By  Ebere Wabara

PAGE 2 BUSINESS of September 16, 2019, welcomes us today with this recurrent headline crudity: “AMCON raises alarm (the alarm) over rising NPLs in banks” Agreed that the article, ‘the’, is usually not allowed in headlines, but that realization should not affect fixed/stock idiomatic expressions and indeed any other inflexible lexical entry.

“Xenophobia: Akinyemi asks Nigeria to drag South Africa before ICJ”

(Source: as above) Get it right: drag somebody/country (in this case) through the courts: to force someone/country to go to a court of law.”                                                                                                                                      

“…the regime of crime with many youths taking to kidnapping and all manners of vices” (DAILY TRUST Opinion Page, May 10) Right: all manner of vices. 

“Menace of under-aged voters” (DAILY INDEPENDENT, May 6) Get it right: underage voters. Never “overaged” players or “matured” politicians 

“New NASS will re-open Bakassi issue” (THISDAY Headline, April 30) This way: reopen.

“Ugwueze goes to the alter” (Vanguard Headline, May 7) High-heeled: altar.

“Imo: Late arrival of materials mar election in Oguta LG” A recurring case of subject-verb disagreement: Late arrival of materials mars (not mar). It has nothing to do with “materials”, but “late arrival”.

“In the past, such leaders have (had) plundered the common wealth and infected the environment with the demon of greed and avarice.” (NIGERIAN Tribune, May 11)

“The electorate streams (stream) out tomorrow at the beginning of a voting exercise that will ultimately ease out….” (THISDAY, May 11)

“There are two types of Persil brands in the market, apparently imported by private individuals (are there public individuals?) who thought there are (were) openings in Nigeria’s detergent market.” (Vanguard, May 11)

“Large turn-out signpost rescheduled Imo polls” (BUSINESSDAY, May 11) Get it right: turn-out signposts.

“No other country in (on) this continent throws up the kind of absurdities that we have in this land.” (DAILY INDEPENDENT, May 8)

“Such persons should be declared persona non grate (sic).” (Source: as above) At the crossroads: personae non grata.

“If he were still in power, the former governor would have been immuned (immune) to….” (DAILY Sun, May 11)

“Thirdly, corruption was not limited to the outgoing governor but involved his cohorts at the corridor of power.” (Nigerian Tribune, May 11) Africa’s executive robbers: in the corridors of power.

“Even though I wanted to see him, he advised against it on the ground that I could get into trouble….’’ (New Telegraph, May 8)  The verdict: on the grounds.

Still on the above edition: “The state Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has 36 chapels out of which seven chapel officers, all duely (duly) nominated and some of the.…”

“…arrogating the powers of the National President and the Central Working Committee (CWC) on (to) himself and.…” (THE GUARDIAN, May 11)

“…the reduction on the external debt and investment in social infrastructures and equipments.”  (THE PUNCH, MAY 11) The last word in the extract is uncountable, just like these: stationery, bedding, cutlery, jewelry, gossip (as an act)….

“Why is President Muhammadu Buhari dragging his foot (feet/heels) on probing treasury looters…?” (DAILY INDEPENDENT, May 11)

“…abolish the federal agency and realign it into (with) mainstream government machinery.” (NIGERIAN Tribune, May 11)

“Thugs in Imo State lay siege on Okorocha’s relics” (Sunday Trust, September 15) This way: lay siege to (not on).

“They had a second wind between 1964 to 1985, though they did not know it.”  (Source: as above) A common error: between 1964 and 1985 or from 1964 to 1985—no mix-up.

“I must confess from the onset that I am not a protagonist of military rule.’’ (DAILY INDEPENDENT, May 11) Get it right: from the outset (in this context).

“The boss and his secretary will continue to have intimate official connection, in spite of gossips.” (DAILY TRUST, May 11)  ‘Gossip’, as an act, is uncountable. But, with reference to those who talk idly and backbite, inflection of the word is allowed.

“But ours is quite different, judging by the experience with regards to the activities of the elected….”  Either of these: as regards or with regard to.

“The industrial sectors of the economy have to invest in information technology, the type of which would stimulate the necessary (could it have been unnecessary?) inputs to produce good results.’’ In Standard English, which strictly applies here, ‘input’ is non-count, but countable in the usually informal American English, which, of course, is a corruption of the formal version.

“The elitist Ikoyi Club, established in 1938, sometime ago celebrated its Diamond Jubilee amid pomp and pageantry.” (DAILY INDEPENDENT, May 11)  Standard expression: pomp and ceremony (or circumstance) or just pomp. The expression, ‘pomp and pageantry’, is a perversion of the etymology of the English language.

“Staff Reporter…takes a peep into the nation’s recent past and notes that it is a past whose scars will remain for sometime.” (THE GUARDIAN, May 11)  Right focus: for some time.

“One of the suspects said his intention was to warm (worm) his way back to the country.…”

“…gunshot wounds he received in the hands of armed bandits….” (DAILY TRUST, May 11)  Reporters who don’t appreciate the magnitude of ‘banditry’ should play ball with ‘armed robbery’. ‘Banditry’ is simply criminal violence that culminates in aggravated roguery which involves inevitable use of weaponry.  So, in the interest of morphological sanity, delete ‘armed’.

The next catachresis is from the Sunday Vanguard of September 15: “The chairman of the occasion quickly acknowledged it was not easy to launch a book after Chidi has (had) launched it.”

“Two failed banks chiefs get bail” Towards a better use of language: bank chiefs.  The plurality of ‘banks’ had been taken care of by ‘chiefs’, in line with syntactic sequence. 

“Lagos NURTW swims in fresh crisis: “Thugs in free-for-all fight” Delete ‘fight’ to avert calamitous redundancy.