Between Dr. Abati, CNN, Nigerians & Nigeria

By Paul I. Adujie   New York , United States

I read Dr. Reuben Abati's article, Between CNN & Nigeria; I was deeply disturbed by it. Dr. Abati is a journalist with legal education as well. He is therefore as informed as any journalist anywhere gets! I consider Dr. Abati an intellectual's intellectual, he writes concisely and in precise manner. In writing Between CNN and Nigeria , he misapplied his skills, his education, his talents and his advocacy skills and worse he did all these in support of CNN, a media organization that has created a cottage industry excoriating Nigeria !

 Is Dr. Abati seeking some sorts of award from the Americans, a Pulitzer perhaps? Does Nigeria 's national interests and national security considerations matter to Dr. Abati and some other Nigerians? Abati denigrated Nigeria with his article and particular choice of words such as, blackmail and intimidation, to describe our government reactions to CNN repeated and unrelenting attacks against Nigerians and Nigeria.

  The Niger Delta is in Nigeria, members of MEND are Nigerians, why did it take Jeff Koinage to score the journalist coup de grace and scoop? While Dr. Reuben Abati, specializes in fixations on President Obasanjo and what he may have for breakfast tomorrow? Does Nigeria 's national interests and national security considerations matter to Dr. Abati and some other Nigerians? Why does CNN with unfettered access in Nigeria ?

When are Nigerian journalists, especially at The Guardian, when are they going to do a journalistic scoop on Osama Bin Ladin or Al Queida in Afghanistan or the insurgents in Iraq so that Nigerian journalists could put their American journalists to shame? Would the American military permit Dr. Abati and Nigerian journalists to indulge themselves in pursuit of "truth"? American and European journalists are embedded, have to be embedded! Free press and all! The American establishment, the American military industrial complex would tell you about American national security considerations!

Niger Delta and MEND are in Nigeria

Why does it take CNN, National Geographic, Vogue Magazine to present the issues in Niger Delta to the world as have been the case recently? The Niger Delta and MEND are local challenges with global impact, the owners of The Guardian in Nigeria, an outfit for which Dr. Reuben Abati works, are Nigerians from the Niger Delta, why is the world not learning about Niger Delta and MEND from Nigerian journalists of Abati's caliber? This is certainly not because of the current government in Nigeria, which is every lazy person's excuse for everything these days!  Why do I, as a Nigerian living abroad, and for that matter, why do Nigerians in Nigeriaalways have to rely on foreign media for detail coverage on matters Nigerian and African? BBC, VOA, CNN. Why does the world have to rely on Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times to learn about the genocidal horrors and persisting barbarities in Darfur  Sudan? When in fact, Darfur  Sudanis closer to Nigeriathan New York, United States? Where is Dr. Abati's reporting from Darfuror Iraqor even Chadand Niger?

In recent times, I have read from the pages of The New York Times that the activities of the Arab militias known as Janjaweed(s) has spread to Nigeria's neighboring countries of Niger and Chad, why is Dr. Abati not on the ground before The New York Times? Are Nigerian journalists no longer as good as their American and European counterparts? Even as we focus on the quality of Nigerian or African governments, it is equally important that we examine the quality of our Nigerian nay, African journalists and journalism. There was a British journalist once, Alistar Cooke, he wrote and reported to Englandfrom Americafor the best part of a hundred years while based on the American soil. And now, The New York Times has Alan Cowell, also British, he writes from Englandfor this American newspaper. His reporting is not focused on what Prime Minister Tony Blair does while in Americaor how Tony Blair is best friend or lapdog to President Bush and Bush's foreign policy toward the Middle Eastand Iraqin particular. Now, compare that to Mr. Laolu Akande's reporting about President Obasanjo and his government from Mr. Akande's perspective in New York

In the pages of The Guardian and you will notice a difference in journalistic attitudes, between Nigerian journalists, and their American and European counterparts! Mr. Akande's latest article is titled: "How Obasanjo is losing respect abroad" This represents, quite possibly, Mr. Akande perception of fair and balanced journalistic reporting? There seem to be a pattern, at least an emerging pattern. It is as if Nigerian journalists at The Guardian (at least Abati and Akande) are of the belief that there is a pecking order, by way of a New World Order, in which existence by strata of superiority, Nigeriaought to bow to the Americaand American institutions? After all, Americais strong economically and militarily. And as such, you would frequently read articles written by Mr. Akande in The Guardian in which he announces American government Warnings to Nigeria(Never recommendations or Suggestions) but always Warnings or Demands, always! You would think that Nigeriais a colonial province, district or protectorate of America. As some in Nigerian press often report as if unthinkingly, what Americawants of Nigeria. The Demands by Americaand or Warnings to Nigeriaby America! Wow!

America is comprised of 50 federating states, the American federal government rarely engages in warning its states and other political subdivisions. But frequently, you would find Nigerian journalists reporting that the American federal government has warned President Obasanjo and Nigeria about one thing or another! What nerve, that educated Nigerians, journalists no less, would find such words as appropriate to refer to any, and I mean, any President of Nigeria? Or such references as warnings or command-demand of Nigeria, a republic, independent, sovereign and with its territorial integrity still intact. It would seem that Iraqis have more respect of an occupied Iraq , than Nigerians have for an unoccupied nation of Nigeria ! Bush does not command-demand-warn Iraqi leaders!

Between CNN and Nigeria written by Dr. Abati has been hotly debated on and there, there have been a paragraph of that article that is often quoted or excerpted by most Nigerians responding to Dr. Abati's opinion and it is, where he intoned that the folks at CNN would be having a field day in hilarities, as they will be laughing Nigeria  and especially the current political leaders scornfully for canceling the contract with CNN to air the "Heart of Africa" Project concerning Nigeria's international image. First of all, I did not know that Dr. Abati is a mind-reader and that he engages in clairvoyance! I do not understand how he could arrive at such conclusion about CNN reaction in scornful laughter? What manner of idle conjectures by Dr. Abati?

Why does Dr. Abati sound as if in awe of CNN and America? Secondly, Nigeria paid for a service, and the essence and core of that service entails portrayals of Nigeria in the best lights. CNN accepted that deal and payments to carry such contract into effect. The same CNN, in the past year and more importantly, after signing the contract with Nigeria which required CNN to portray Nigeria in best lights, CNN nevertheless proceeded to portray Nigeria in the worst of lights! CNN took actions that are inconsistent with and made nonsense of its subsisting obligations to and with Nigeria and Nigeria was supposed to bury her head in shame and, throw hands in the air helplessly, and continue to pay CNN, at least going by Dr. Abati's logic? How can that make any sense to any reasonable person? How could that possibly make sense to any Nigerian at home or abroad? How could that make any sense to a journalist cum lawyer of Dr. Abati's stature? It sure does not make any sense to me!

The policy and strategy of the current federal government of Nigeria appears to be, to avoid full-frontal military assault on MEND and other militants in the Niger Delta. This is informed by the fact that negotiations and political solutions are infinitely better than military solutions. Jeff Koinage of CNN and by extension, Dr. Abati of The Guardian Newspapers, has taken this attitude on the part of our government, to treat MEND and other militants, rather gingerly to avoid needless bloodshed to mean weakness and a lack of resolve? After all, members of MEND and other militants are our people, Nigerians! Our government did not want to escalate or exacerbate the challenges on the ground, by focusing on use of military force. That well informed avoidance of bloodshed, is now taken by Abati and Koinage, as fear on the part of Nigeria 's military? Our military that has been to the toughest of peace-keeping missions in Burma, Yugoslavia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Sudan just to name a few, our military could not go where a braided-hair city boy Koinage could go? Haba!

 Abati wrote as if whatever CNN says wants are sacrosanct! Hear Abati, "What the Federal Government has done is to question the integrity of the CNN and that of its reports, reporters and editors. It has taken the additional step of blackmailing CNN by asking state governments in Nigeria to withdraw adverts from the station" Dr. Abati felt obligated to describe the actions of our federal government as blackmail! Dr. Abati sounded as if he is a mouthpiece and megaphone for CNN and MEND! Hear him again, "Those hood-wearing boys on CNN mean business. It is the Nigerian government that is joking with danger. The CNN report conveyed an impression of the danger that Nigeria is joking with, and if the truth must be told, Koinange and his crew deserve praise for courage in the face of danger"

Why is Dr. Abati giddily ridiculing Nigerians and Nigeria on behalf of CNN?

Someone should inform Abati that it is not only Nigeria 's federal government that is offended by CNN's unfair, unethical, unbalanced and offensive attacks against Nigerians and Nigeria . Millions of Nigerians are offended and I am one of them!


Join the conversation through disqus comments or via our forum. Click on any of the tabs below to select your desired option. Please engage decently.

  • Disqus Comments
  • Facebook
  • Forum Discussion

1 2
Re: Between Dr. Abati, CNN, Nigerians & Nigeria
Oguguo Yakere posted on 02-20-2007, 02:21:27 AM
If you pay me to say "yes" about a situation and I discover that the truth is to say "no" based on my superior value standard, I will tell you to go to hell with your money and stop saying "yes". If it is my duty to tell the truth which is also my chosen value I will say the truth. It is not only CNN that has access to Nigeria. One of my colleagues saw an article that advertised Nigeria on a local flight herein the US. Based upon what he already has seen on the news and read prior to that, he scornfully told me about the article. I was embarassed, what couild I do. You can continue your PR but leave people alone who see honor in the truth.

Some years ago BBC used to route for Pieth Botha's government in South Africa against Mandela and his people. The truth kept emanating from there and there was no where any longer to hide. Without the truth South Africa would not have changed. BBC is repeating the same thing now with Nigeria. They either say half the truth or nothing. Their correspondent was in Abuja eating Suyya while others kept busy watching the voting that went on in Nigeria in 2003. They were the only ones who reported that all was well in favor of Obasanjo. Is that fair?

Re: Between Dr. Abati, CNN, Nigerians & Nigeria
DaBishop posted on 02-20-2007, 02:54:25 AM
I think you missed the issue presented by this article. Read it again.
The issue is one of focus and editorial policy.
Nigeria is not there, but the glass can be half full or half empty.
If the story being sought for is human interest stories, come to Baltimore, Chicago or Milwaukee downtown and see filth suffering and surprise. On any media in America, race is almost a no-go area.

The newspapers are hungry for news, but if you are a foreigner and you sue the US government, do not expect to be published. I write from experience. That is the context. You may criticize, but there is another dimension to national security interest. You take Nigeria's millions to launder its image, then your correspondents take the side of kidnappers. Haba!

Then that Akande fellow takes messages from the white house to his country of origin...National security say Nigeria blah blah...Travel advisory against Nigeria...US warn Nigeria against democracy...Got it? One would almost think they are enemies and not strategic partners government to government.
Re: Between Dr. Abati, CNN, Nigerians & Nigeria
Free Publius posted on 02-20-2007, 04:12:09 AM
Paul Adujie,

Your tried and tired approach of attacking the messenger has worn out. By now, everyone has come to realize that regardless of the critcism of the OBJ administration, you will either fault the messenger or claim someone else is more evil.

Just today, there was a story in the news about kidnappings in the Niger Delta, probably by the AP. Do you attack them too? And when you are done attacking all the media houses, wouldnt you eventually go back to doing what you shold have done in the first place, addressing the real issue which is rampant kidnappings and unrest in the Niger Delta. And then you realize all of the resources expended in defending the indefensible and then you realize that you could have been far more efficient in your efforts.

The fact of the matter is that there is serious wahala in the Niger Delta that Nigeria needs to attend to and Nigeria's effort is better spent attending to it rather than futilely chasing the shadows phantom negative media coverage.

Has it occured to you that fellow Nigerians like yourself but who actually appreciates someone shedding brighter light on their plight? People who are not only from the Niger Delta but do live there, unlike yourself and other armchair quaterbacks who are safe and secure in your Yankee existence? Dont those people have a right to be grateful for Koinage's report? Their existence have been utterly ruined by the environmental disaster inflicted on their way of life yet they are not even getting compensated! And their story should not be told???

Paul, with all the noise you make in support of OBJ and his policies, you sure are tender-footed about going back home. Abi you don like America too much? If Nigeria was as great as you have been loudly proclaiming, why havent you put your money where your mouth is and move back to the place? When was the last time you lined up for fuel in NY? Do you wake up in the middle of the night in cold sweat after a nightmare that you forgot to iron your clothes before NEPA took light? When you turn the tap on doeesnt water flow? Please Paul, move back to Nigeria to enjoy all of OBJ's wonderful achievements and you will have done more to change my mind about OBJ than any of your empty write-ups.

And while we're at it, why did all of those dollars and oil concessions paid to Andrew Young not enough to get CNN to stop bedevilling Nigeria so much? Have you thought about that? Afterall, CNN is based in Atlanta, Andrew Young's homebase.

Free Publius
Re: Between Dr. Abati, CNN, Nigerians & Nigeria
BabaAgba posted on 02-20-2007, 07:51:53 AM

You've done well my brother. I too, like you hold Dr. Abati in high esteem, but I disagree with him this time around.

National securuity and national interests should always be protected by the govt. No one is saying that there's no problem in the Niger Delta there's and the govt. needs to face it squarely and resolve this issue.

The media is powerful most especially the electronic media. Our journalists need to change their focus a little bit. Let them do reports on NTA on how Nigerians fare abroad the issue of migration, what Nigerians encounter and how foreigners treat Nigerians in the country. Let them do reports on life in the Americas, Europe and Asia. I mean objective report. And let's see if these countries will give our journalists access to information in their countries.

Paul is not the only one living in US or outside Nigeria, if we're all concerned then let's pack our bags and go home and help or contribute our quotas to the development of our nation.
Re: Between Dr. Abati, CNN, Nigerians & Nigeria
Churchill posted on 02-20-2007, 08:00:44 AM
The Less Familiar Faces

Life can be cruel sometime
Nature has provided us with everything
Yet we have virtually nothing

Surrounded by stale and lifeless air
Polluted by the green house gas
From the gas flaring site next door
Oil that provide them with the loot
But end up contaminating our creeks
And rivers of the Niger Delta

My husband gave up last month
Freaked and frustrated by the system
"Better throw in the towel
Than threaten Armageddon
That will never come" he told me

A heap of ant infested firewood on our heads
Hungry and wailing baby on our backs
We struggle to feed the family

Our faces remain expressionless
Concealing our hopes and beauty
Our barns and pocket remain empty
Revealing our fears and despair

You may not have heard of us
Of course we are never in the news
We are like the hen
Whose chicks the kite took for super
And it never complained
We live at the back of the beyond
We are the less familiar faces

It is only the deaf that need to be told that war has started. The less familiar faces in the Niger Delta will soon join the militants in the battle for the emancipation of their land. If you have not heard, let me tell you that Atiku has been going round promising the militants and the youths of the Niger Delta that he is coming to give them back what belongs to then. Good.

What happens if Atiku fails to win the presidency of fails to deliver on his promise? Hope, temper and anger are rising in the Niger Delta. And you know what happens to consistently-prolonged-dashed hopes? Your guess is as good as mine.
Re: Between Dr. Abati, CNN, Nigerians & Nigeria
Abraxas posted on 02-20-2007, 08:14:30 AM
Hi, folks!

Truly, the emperor has no clothes at all!

Muchas gracias.

Don Juan Carlos ABRAXAS (III)
I remember when Gen Sanni Abacha died,
I Love Nigeria posted on 02-20-2007, 12:16:09 PM
Dear Paul,

I don't know what you are bitching about. Everything
CNN said about the Niger Delta was the truth. Reuben
Abati stood for the truth that CNN said about the
Niger Delta crisis. The fact is that people like you
hide under the cloak of patriotism to condone evil.
There is injustice in the Niger Delta. Nigerian
journalists are afraid to report the true situation
for fear of reprisals.

Jeff Koinange is doing the job he is paid to do. He is not interested in propaganda.
The worst that can be done to him is deportation and
anybody brought in to replace him will do just what he
has been doing, that is , report the truth. Nigerian
media and journalists are simply instruments of
propaganda and that is why anybody in Nigeria who
wants to hear news tunes in to BBC, VOA, CNN and other
foreign media. I remember when Gen Sanni Abacha died,
nobody believed it until they heard it on the BBC
. If
you don't like CNN, why tune in to it ?

Why are people always complaining obout foreign news reports ? Who
forced them to tune in ? All Nigerian politicians,
news media, in fact everybody starts the day by tuning
in to foreign news stations.That includes the

Tyrants hide under the cloak of national security to
perpetrate evil. It is like that all over Africa and
that is why our people (including Paul Adujie)are
escaping from Nigeria in droves. But your hypocrisy
will not let you say what is really on your mind.

You will do very well to please shut up. Reuben Abati is
not the one currying favour from America. You are the
one currying favour from Obasanjo's evil empire.

I used to hate Reuben Abati for his igbophobic newspaper
articles, but this time around, I support him 100%.

Have a nice day.
Sunny Ezekwe
Re: Between Dr. Abati, CNN, Nigerians & Nigeria
Sammyduyo posted on 02-20-2007, 14:43:54 PM
Mr, Adujie,
Your position suggests that national security and national pride should be replace objectivity and truth! If all was well in Nigeria nay Niger Delta, why would the government embark on image laundering? as has been well said, CNN's acceptance to broadcast advertorials on the heart of africa project does not preclude them from news reporting on Nigeria! The salient points to ponder are: Between Frank Nweke and CNN who was speaking the truth? Is there widespread development and security of lives and property in the Niger Delte as claimed by Nweke? Or is there unrest and insecurity as reported by CNN?

If you are so concerned about national pride, would'nt you be back home contributing to national development?

Dr. Abati carry on!
Between Dr. Abati, CNN, Nigerians & Nigeria
I Love Nigeria posted on 02-20-2007, 17:19:26 PM
It is a global village is not?

The Americans, The Britons, and the Croats and Filipinos that are getting kidnapped, all have a right to be in Nigeria?

AND, somehow, Paul Adujie has no right to be in America?

I suppose the foreign workers in Nigeria are doing free, altruistic missionary work in Nigeria?

Just as I am doing, free, altruistic missionary work in America! Cikena?


How many dead bodies have you seen of American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan? (NONE)!

How many dead and severed bodies did you see from the World Trade Center disaster? (NONE)!

When there are disasters in Nigeria/Africa.... what does CNN and other Western Press show you? BODIES, BLOOD, BODIES, BLOOD!!! a lack of respect for even dead bodies!

There are more than 3000 American soldiers/troops who have lost their lives so far... and counting... when is The Guardian and Dr. Abati going to show us photos of American and Iraqi dead? Why won't The Guardian and Abati go into Iraq and Afghanistan and report the truth, the objectivity from Baghdad in the name of all that is FREE PRESS?

Why is it, that American media showed the dead bodies of Husein's sons.... but the same Americans are not too "happy" about the "truth" the "objectivity" of Al Jazeera Television? Is it not public knowledge that the Americans have had running battles with journalists in Iraq.... and more particularly so, in the case of Al Jazeera?

Oh yes ke, it is TRUTH and OBJECTIVITY? Whose truth, whose objectivity and whose embedded FREE PRESS are you guys talking about?

Most of you do not understand the way the world works! PERIOD!

Please see: Embedded Journalism Objectivity And National Interests
Re: Between Dr. Abati, CNN, Nigerians & Nigeria
Showcase posted on 02-21-2007, 04:38:15 AM
It beats me why anyone would ask that the media should be less than truthful in the nale of national interest. That anyone else or any country's media does it, doesn't make it any more right. So, Laolu Akande reports that Obasanjo is losing respect out of Nigeria, as if he has any respect within Nigeria itself. When a president can because of personal vendetta refuse to speak for the nomination of his country men/women into exalted global offices, what respect does he have?

We need people who can courageously speak the truth. Nigerian press may not be perfect, but they are doing their best. A lot of things are not right in that country, mostly self inflicted. Imagine a situation where a president, by fiat, would declare his elected vice's seat vacant, thereafter run to the courts for approval. Nigeria is not any person's personal estate. Let Obasanjo be so told. Enough of his mis-rule.

His double speaks and double face fight against corruption has made a nonsense of the anti-corruption fight in Nigeria. An otherwise laudable program has lost its essence because of one man's desire to project only his interest!

CNN was not paid to lie about Nigeria, but to say Nigeria has done the right thing, if indeed she does the right thing. In the face of blatant disregard for rule of law and utter recklessness, what can the CNN do? No Nigerian is happy to hear these reports, but the truth is still that we cannot deny that these reports are true. Anyone with a contrary proof should speak out.
1 2
Please register before you can make new comment