Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Nigeria opposition slams BBC over Lagos documentary

Nigeria's main opposition party, the Action Congress (AC), has condemned the 'Welcome to Lagos' documentary, aired by the British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC2, in the UK on 15 April, which portrayed Lagos as one huge slum and ignored world-acclaimed efforts by the state government to uplift the city.

In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Al haji Lai Mohammed, the party commended Nigeria's High Commissioner to the UK, Dr. Dalhatu Tafida, for his prompt and robust response to the documentary, saying he had shown that he was a true representative of all Nigerians.

``The timing of the documentary, which is being aired in a series, is inauspicious and the motive highly suspect,'' the party said, wondering why the BBC - which trumpets its professionalism to high heavens - chose not to balance its story by also documenting the great efforts of the state government in the past 10 years to change the face of Lagos.

``Much as we try to think otherwise, it is difficult not to feel that the BBC is acting out a script, as the voice of a colonialist that has long passed its prime and is now nostalgic about its past, which includes holding a whole people down and portraying them as incapable of managing their own affairs.

``It is nothing short of poor judgment on the part of the documentary's producers to give a big play to the disappearing slum in a city that is fast rising to global prominence, thanks to relentless developmental efforts of the state government,'' AC said.

The party noted that every city had its own share of slums, whether it is Lagos, London or New York, and wondered why those areas were given prominence over and above the cleaner parts of the city anytime Lagos was involved.

``Thankfully, other international media organisations have done a more professio nal reporting on Lagos. They have documented the 'miracle of Oshodi' and the 'greening' of Lagos. They have shown the massive road construction projects and other infrastructural development efforts, all of which the BBC has ignored!' it said.

AC urged other Nigerian Ambassadors/High Commissioners to emulate Dr. Tafida, who promptly protested against the unfair BBC documentary, adding: ``A slight on any part of Nigeria is a slight on all of Nigeria.''

Afrique en ligne

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