Nigeria’s leading investigative newspaper, Premium Times, has apologised to Danladi Ciroma, the North-central leader of apex cattle breeders’ organisation, Miyetti Allah, for claiming that he said the recent Plateau State killings were in retaliation for 300 stolen cows.
Ciroma had strongly protested the quotes credited to him and Premium Times has confirmed in a statement that there is no documented evidence to counter his rebuttal.
The statement read;
“An internal investigation by PREMIUM TIMES found that there was no recording of any interview in which Ciroma made the statement, neither was any statement signed or circulated by him that contained the quotes.
The error was traced to their outstation reporter based in Jos, whose failure to properly attribute the source of the purported statement by Ciroma misled the editors into believing that it was e-mailed to the reporter.
Checks by PT, following Ciroma’s protest on Wednesday afternoon, showed that the quotes were lifted from The Nation Newspapers.
The Nation’s reporter in Plateau State also circulated the quotes in the WhatsApp group of reporters on the government house beat in Jos, telling his colleagues they were the full transcription of his interview with Ciroma.
The reporter later admitted to PT that he did not have a recording of his call with Ciroma, but said the quotes mirrored the Miyetti Alla leader’s position on the latest killings in Plateau State.
PtT publisher, Dapo Olorunyomi, admitted yesterday that the paper was substantially in error with respect to its reporting on Ciroma’s role in the conflict in Jos.
“This is very much below the standards of verification we strive to maintain and for which we have come to earn the trust of our readers.
As a first step, we are sending an apology letter to Ciroma and assuring him that a disciplinary process is currently apace to ensure accountability for the breakdown in our editorial procedures.”
The controversial attribution to Miyetti Allah comes as the media were facing allegations of bias in its coverage of the ongoing killings in the country.