Media Gaffes  Uplift, Never ‘Upliftment’


 Ebere Wabara

NATIONAL NEWS of October 16 kicks off today’s edition with this schoolboy flaw: “He said the salvation of the country cannot (could not) be found in any of the existing political parties.”

“7 LGAs violent-prone (violence-prone) in Bayelsa elections—NGO” (Source: as above)

“Pa Ukoha was a selfless community leader, (otiose comma) who committed his personal resources to the upliftment (uplift) of Igbere community.”

“Ugwuanyi handsover (hands over) 65 security vehicles to police” (NATIONAL NEWS, October 16)

“Here are the personalities that grace (graced) the occasion.” (THISDAY, THE SATURDAY NEWSPAPER, October 19)

“Two of England’s most successful clubs will on tomorrow (delete ‘on’) go head-to-head in the Premier League as Manchester United take on Liverpool.” (Source: as above)

Finally from THISDAY under review: “Enugu Airport: Rep laud (lauds) Buhari’s approval for release of funds”                          

From SOUTH EAST NEWS of October 21 come the next two boyish howlers: “Incessant fuel tanker fire (fires) worries (worry) Obi of Onitsha”

“Border closure targeted at poor masses” ‘Masses’ are circumstantially poor. Therefore, there is no point amplifying their poverty!

“…so that our people will live a prosperous, safe and secure lives (life) in their environment (environments)….” (Politics & Power blunder, October 21)

“…as cost of raw materials skyrocket (skyrockets)” (THE BUSINESS REPORT faulty sub-headline, October 21)

 “APC chairmen (chairmen’s) forum lauds Buhari”

 “RUGA: Why farmers, herders (herders’) crisis (crises) persist—Don” (AREWA NEWS faux pas, October 23)

“Even a child in this nation knows that the police derives (derive) its (their) enabling and operational authority from the dictates of the Centre….” The paper’s Metro Section institutionalized this same lexical bondage in one of its headlines: “In Kano, Police allegedly shoots (sic) tanker driver over bribe” Its Editorial was equally not left out in this particular police howler: “Nigerians would no doubt be happier to hear from the Nigerian Police what it is (they are) doing to enhance its (their) capacity….” 

“The ban on tinted glasses is even more reprehensible because the security benefits it can deliver is (are) far from certain.”

 “Gov, Reps demand his arrest over (for) inciting comments on 2023” 

“A week’s trail on the heels of pirates reveal (reveals) how Nigerians lose billions of Naira to the kingpin….” 

“Court remands Edo lawmaker in prison over unlawful possession of firearm” The lawmaker was remanded in custody—not in prison!

“That is why the Presidency must show more leadership and tact before jumping into a battle just because it thinks it has the power to crush the enemy—real or imagined.” Get it right: the enemy—real or imaginary.

“Nigerian scientists have failed woefully.” THE SUNDAY INTERVIEW: …have failed abysmally (not woefully)

“Let me also make this point that our scientists have not done creditably well over the years.” No overkill: either creditably or well.

The final entry from last week’s edition of this medium: “Insurgents await ransom, assure on ex-minister’s safety” ‘Assure’ is a transitive verb. It must take an object. 

“Restoring sanity on (to) the road should be the first tangible step if he is serious about….” 

“The result was that what was supposed to be a consensus agreement willingly entered into by….” ‘Consensus agreement’?  Next time, just choose one.

“It was flurry of activities in Abuja last week.…” A flurry or a hive of activity….

“The minister said government’s desire to licence (sic) a second carrier is born out of the…” General view: borne out.

“Knowing fully well that Abacha was a key factor in the Babangida regime.…” Intelligent commentary: knowing full well.

“What is good for the goose should be good for the gander.”  Fixed expression: what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

“Some blind beggars on a street in Lagos Island” Beggars in a street on (not in) Lagos Island.

“…Catholic cardinals who converged at (on) the Vatican for a three-day meeting….”

“There has (sic) been threats of legal action, and a demonstration against Obanikoro in Lagos has been held.”  Challenges of carpet-crossing: there have been threats….

“Jonathan rejects prisoners pardon list” No news: prisoners’ pardon list 

“Manhunt begins for killers of award winning (award-winning) police chief.”

“…writes (writes to) the president to intimate him of (to) the hardship ravaging the land.”

“The civil servants have got pay rise, yet their purchasing power have (has) been decimated.”

“The ITSC equipment was damaged early this week by a heavy rainstorm….”  In the interest of telecoms, delete ‘heavy’-–which is contextually otiose, just like ‘heavy downpour’!

“Every moneybag (moneybags) wants you to know when he is celebrating….” ‘Moneybag’ is the sac used in putting money, while the owner is a moneybags.

“A professional must update his knowledge in his chosen career otherwise he becomes a mediocre.”  The way we write: otherwise he becomes a mediocrity or mediocrist. ‘Mediocre’ is an adjective that cannot function as a noun except in a collective manner (the mediocre).

“The emergence of vigilante (vigilance) groups to combat the activities of men of the underworld is only symptomatic of lack of faith in the ability of the police to guarantee….”

“NLC suspends siege on (to) First Bank, as NUJ lays siege to Daily Champion over non-payment of six-month salary”  

“The assurance from the IGP is therefore supposed to act as a soothing balm.”  Is a balm not supposed to soothe? Does it do the opposite? 

“…it will be much more so with one involving a police personnel.”  ‘Personnel’ is a collective term. Use ‘policeman’, ‘officer’ or ‘cop’.

“But how do we prevent hunger next year when politicians will engage themselves (one another) in a do or die (do-or-die) battle for re-election.”    

“VP condemns do or die politics” This way: do-or-die politics. 


“The race to Government House in Kano has began in earnest as….” Without any effort: The race has begun…. 


 “…those who would have uttered (what?) them reduced everyone to spectators while they reached for each other’s throats.” Get it right: each other’s throat or one another’s throat (depending on context). 


“After all, as they say, ‘what is good for the goose is good for the gander’ ’’. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. 


“Knowing what to wear and how to compliment (complement) it goes a long way….” 


 “The state, therefore, does not deserve the treatment being currently meted to it”.  Classical expression: being meted out to it. 


“Chief of Naval Staff advocates for increased productivity via industrialization” When used as a verb, ‘advocate’ does not admit ‘for’.  Let us avoid verbiage in headline casting: Naval Chief advocates increased productivity. 


“For the university to recommend that students should pay for the damages while they have….” A common mistake: except in legalese, ‘damage’ cannot be pluralized. 


“…rather than investigating and finding out who were involved and check against future re-occurrence: Beyond recurrence, can an event yet to take place happen in the past? 


“…the university is pointing its accusing fingers in the direction of the lecturers.” True idiom: point a/the finger.  No inclusion of ‘accusing’ or inflection of ‘finger’. 


“It is our belief that we members of the alumni association of our Alma Mata (Alma Mater) have unique roles to play in the restoration of sanity on our university campus.”  It is…restoration of sanity to (not on) our campus. 


“Isn’t it funny that it is the beak with which a bird builds it’s (sic) nest that it uses to scatter it.” Possessive: its 


“…the AU summiteers concentrated almost exclusive (sic) on the political independence and liberation of countries in (on) the continent.” 


“Monday’s action, which started at dawn, was as a result of the breakdown of series of negotiations…” An agendum: a series of negotiations. 


“According to investigations, the deceased was said to be resting alone in his room at about 9.p.m….”  Every reporter should be decisive based on timing which description to use: either at or about 9 p.m.  The two cannot co-function. 


“According to the source, the institution has a very high percentage of failure in the last academic year.”  Reported speech: the institution had (not has). 


“… that the authorities of the institution was (were) still waiting the result of the police analysis of the bomb”. 


“…in the next three years, its per capital income would have …” This way: per capita income. 


“Then it was catalogue of misses for the Super Eagles.” In the spirit of qualification: a catalogue of misses.