Tale of Woe

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Media Gaffes

By Ebere Wabara

YOU are welcome today: “Senator cries out over killing of 10 constituent (constituents) by bandits”
“…has sent a Save our (sic) Soul message to police and security agencies over armed bandits (bandits’) invasion of…” Delete ‘message’ and ‘armed’ in the interest of scholarship.

“Ebere Eze still at crossroads” (GLOBAL SOCCER, April 4) Get it right: at a/the crossroads
“Tales of woes as Akure explosion victims count losses” (POLITY, April 4) This way: tale of woe
“They said African countries need (needed) longer (a longer) period for debt relief, of between two and three years.” (DAILY Sun Editorial, April 6)

“Bayelsa gives marching order (orders) to primary health workers”
“NDDC alerts Nigerians on (to) fraudulent social media accounts offering jobs, contracts”
“IOC commends Dare, NOC over (for) Covid-19 campaign”
“Assailant, vigilante member die in gun duel” Get it right: vigilance member. Alternatively: Assailant, vigilante die in gun duel.

“Woman arrested with AK-47, 148 live ammunitions” The last word in the extract is uncountable. The Old English (Anglo-Saxon) period is gone!
“This will remove the possibility of passing the bulk (buck)” No pedestrian English.
“The organized private sector took the bull by the horn recently….” For a better society: take the bull by the horns.

“Britain handed over the reigns of power to the politicians.” Modern English: reins of government.
“One even wonders why government did not adopt that method from the onset (outset).”
“This is true given the restricted and guarded comments from those who have been priviledged to view the clips.” Spellings count: privileged.

“Government needs to put (get) its acts together and prosecute the kidnappers.” My own comment: get its act (not acts) together.

“Vigilante group accused of murder“…Get it right: vigilance group.

“Apart from all these, the debt recovery (a hyphen confirms class) level of the banks have not been any issue of interest to NDIC.” Question CBN has to answer, debt recovery has (not have).
“It is believed in some quarters that the Nigerian Police has….” THE NATION: the Nigerian Police have.
“And the leaders, being new on the saddle of political leadership (another comma) were.…” The challenges of good grammar: in the saddle.

“Efforts by the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and his group to remove Akintola from office was (were) fiercely resisted.” Why the discord?

“As a new democracy, there was (were) bound to be problems.”

“In the course of the crisis, Awo and some of his lieutenants were arrested and charged for (with)….”
“The ethnic colouration of the coup led to a counter coup (a hyphen) in July 1966.” Spell-check: coloration.

“Have the previous exercises impacted meaningfully on the lives (life) of the average Nigerian?”
“This could not have been possible if they had been outrightly liquidated.” ‘Outrightly’ is a Nigerian creation! The right word ‘outright’ functions as an adverb and an adjective. Therefore, it does not require any inflexion. In other words: This could not have been possible if they had been liquidated outright. Even at that, ‘liquidation’ does not need any qualification because of its causative finality. So, if they had been liquidated.

‘Reopening’ abhors hyphenation. It is not automatic that any word with a prefix must go with a hyphen, except where there is a vowel replication. For instance: re-entry, but readmit, readjust, etcetera.
“Legislators, oil chiefs parley on industry enhancing issues” Imagine the classical excellence a hyphen between ‘industry’ and ‘enhancing’ would have conferred on the headline.

“I said these are (were) beggars and I told my wife I better (I had better) get money ready for them.”
“…the grassroots population of our people will remain the lifewire of the UBE scheme.” Adult literacy: livewire.

“The remains of the Ovie, sources in the town revealed, was (were) later tied….”

“And just last Friday, it was reported that the police has (had) arrested the APC governorship candidate….”

“The meetings were about some developments alright….” ‘Alright’ (non-standard) is unacceptable for ‘all right’ in formal settings.

“My suggestion, therefore, is that our National Assembly members should tow (toe) the line of reason.”
”…especially those public officers who remain suspect with regards (regard) to their qualifications and credibility to hold public offices” Alternatively, as regards their qualifications….

“The nation has (had) in the past pardoned and forgiven it’s (sic) past leaders and citizens who committed one offence or the other (or another).”

“Such citizens had since been integrated back (reintegrated) into the system.”

“A recent summit in Kaduna on education in the northern states provided the appropriate forum to revisit, once again….” ‘Revisit’ cannot co-function with ‘again’.

“Gone are the days when government can (could) go it alone.”

“Infact (In fact) every loving parents….” Parentage: either every loving parent or all loving parents
“In the agricultural sector, the two countries can learn a lot from one another (each other).”

“Soldiers take over troubled spots” Let peace reign: trouble spots.

“Post election violence spreads” Towards a better life for the people: Post-election violence….

“…lost his life in a ghastly auto crash in Greece.” It was a fatal (not ghastly) accident.

“President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, expressed sadness over the sporadic violent protest (protests)….”

The next headline blunder is from last week’s edition of this medium: “Police arrest four over Maiduguri explosion” Do we arrest the entire editorial team for (not over) lexical recklessness?

“Bribery enthrones mediocrity and crucify merit.” The Tabernacle of bribery crucifies merit.

“Gang up against Buhari will fail” Phrasal verb: gang up; noun: gang-up (which applies here).

“We were treated to another similar incidence.…” All newspapers should know the difference between ‘incidence’ and ‘incident’ (which applies here).

“Although the governor’s last minute romance with the main opposition party is held against him.…” Saturday People: last-minute (take note of the hyphen) romance
“Thus, a core investor…with regards to optimal use of the machinery.…” (THE GUARDIAN, March 12) Either: as regards or with regard to….

“In the heydays of the goggled General when fuel was often unavailable…” (THE GUARDIAN, March 20) Stranglehold of oil workers: heyday (uncountable).

“Last year, many houses of the Igbo in Ajegunle, a suburb of Lagos, were razed down.…” No word abuse: simply razed (not razed down). Discard the contrary views by some registers!

Yet another headline gaffe: “Restrictions on inter-bank foreign exchange trading is (are) killing the market.”

“Armed robbers now have good company–street thugs and unofficial vigilante groups.” (THE GUARDIAN, March 20) Democracy as a disincentive: vigilance group.