A DEARTH OF DECORUM IN THE FOURTH ESTATE OF THE REALM: A REFLECTION ON THE RECENT NDLEA “TALES"



The centuries-long story of the shepherd boy from Aesop’s Fables that kept crying wolf to get attention because he was bored is not lost to us. As he expected, the Villagers who heard the cry dropped their work and ran in great excitement to the pasture. But when they got there they found the Boy doubled up with laughter at the trick he had played on them.
A few days later the Shepherd Boy again shouted, “Wolf! Wolf!” Again the Villagers ran to help him, only to be laughed at again. Then one evening as the sun was setting behind the forest and the shadows were creeping out over the pasture, a Wolf really did spring from the underbrush and fall upon the Sheep.
In terror the Boy ran toward the village shouting “Wolf! Wolf!” But though the Villagers heard the cry, they did not run to help him as they had before. “He cannot fool us again,” they said.
The Wolf killed a great many of the Boy’s sheep and then slipped away into the forest. This seems to be the current practice of some seemingly respectable news media houses.

Journalism is one of the most respected professions in the world,  serving as a watch guard over the events within any polity. However, with given freedom of press comes the responsibility of painstakingly confirming stories before they are published. This was not the case when Sahara Reporters and Simon Ateba of News Africa went to town (social media) with the news of embezzlement in the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
Let’s do a little “think-tanking” together now.
Drug Control administration and the fight against drug barons is a challenging task. It is a national assignment and responsibility that is way too important to toy with. One would wonder why this allegation is happening now but it is not too difficult as our team of investigators have, in the course of tracking everyone involved in the said petition, come to a brick wall at the door-steps of one of the Media houses carrying this story. As a matter of fact, the planned and ongoing processes for the extradition of Senator Kashamu Buruji is imminent and suddenly, this allegation. Does the media house in question have any relationship with the senator to warrant their continual pervasive interest in his drug case?  Why does this particular media house have far and wide reaching contacts in the NDLEA to be invited to an ongoing crime/drug sting scene as the video below reveals? Who is this “Your Guy” that authorized them to go into the scene of a sensitive drug operation? How come they were already in constant phone communication with Sen. Kashamu and knew he was even going to commit suicide? It seems to me they knew more than the NDLEA in this matter and the brazenness of their interest in this drug issue and the current allegations to forestall the planned extradition is no coincidence.

Above video simply shows the lack of maturity and understanding in handling very sensitive issues. The drug war is very real and the barons fight dirty too but to let the media become a willing tool in their hands is a cause for sober reflection and reassessment of why certain characters in the first place should be allowed to practice journalism. But again, nothing can be done about that as everyone is only ruled by his/her personal knowledge and home-grown ethics as the media online is uncensored.
It would be nice to go further down this road of fighting against the bad guys to see what happened as we take a quick revelation of the baron’s dirty fights from NDLEA’s Wikipedia page.
In 2005, Bello Lafiaji was the then Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA whose vow and dedication to make life unbearable for drug merchants and strike them where it hurts the most made him a target of the drug barons as was evidenced in their connivance with some third party to frame him up in 2005. Bello Lafiaji was wrongly convicted on June 21, 2010 of conspiracy and conversion of 164,300 euros seized from a drug suspect in November 2005 when he was the Chairman of the NDLEA. He was sentenced to four years in prison together with his personal assistant. They were investigated by Nigeria’s Independent and Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC). Long story short, through an appeal, Bello Lafiaji’s innocence was proven as the prosecution failed to prove its cases against the appellants beyond reasonable doubt.

Ok…so let’s continue. This is what happens in a system where operatives are allowed to stay and grow very fat in a given office or location and they will resist any attempt to change the status quo. Our investigation has revealed that in just two years of Col. Abdallah’s tenure as Chairman of NDLEA, he has followed the books to ensure proper staff postings and promotions and the planned major action will obviously affect the bad eggs and hence, their willing connivance with Drug Barons and Drug-affiliated media. How else can one prove the existence of the petitioner when the media houses cannot even state where or how they got the said petition. This is indeed a déjà vu and there is therefore no need to delve into the details of the NDLEA press release which is in the public domain and posted in this blog as well, but it is left for the public to ascertain the debasing and cut-throat level our journalism is nose-diving towards with these type of media reports.
Renown and reputable media is expected to stimulate citizen deliberation and build public understanding of issues, and report on major public problems in a way that advances public knowledge of issues giving the masses the ability to decide based on their having access to the versions of the story from all sides. Stories like the one carried without hearing the side of NDLEA lead to abysmally poor journalistic adventures that may at best be captured by the fears of many industry watchers as the boy who constantly cries wolf and gets away with it may one day, in his treachery, encounter a real wolf and the villagers will not come to save him. 

In concluding, one should like to ponder about the fate of the industry so we do not unwittingly throw ourselves into an event where we come to finally chant dirges upon the demise of our own dear noble profession as gently and articulate pressmen (and women) while losing our citizenry of the Fourth Estate of the Realm in the face of banditry journalism as we see today.




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