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June 23, 2024

Kano Stray Bullet and The Red Flag For Journalists in Gov. Yusuf’s Administration

By Hannatu Suleiman Abba

In July 2013 Nigerian online news medium Premium Times published an article by veteran Journalist and PR expert, Alhaji Yusha’u A. Shuaibu on media relationship.

Mr Yusha’u spoke about the linkage between journalists and government during a debate on whether the government and the media are friends or foes.

“Spokespersons as the intermediaries between the government and the media, should not only rely on prerequisite and relevant qualifications and experience, but should have humane temperaments and friendly dispositions while discharging their responsibilities.

“While a well trained and well-behaved public officer can easily court friendship of the media and earn the respect of the public, journalists too should imbibe the PR instincts and the principle by initiating cordial relationship with officers in government to minimise mutual suspicious and misgivings,” the article stated partly.

Recently, when the world was busy commemorating the Press Freedom Day, News Reports took over the Radio and Television waves on how Malam Naziru Idris, a reporter from Abubakar Rimi Television, covering the Kano state Government house was hit by a stray bullet.

This unforseen incident sparked outrage from journalists and the general public in the state just after a Premier Radio broke the news.

Journalists became frightened by the stray bullet saga after the Director General, Media and Publicity to Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf, Sunusi Bature, debunked the incident, saying the incident was caused by a metal debris emanating from an ongoing barricaded construction site at the Government House. Bature went ahead to include in his statement that the report published by media organizations was just a flurry of misinformation.

Despite his denial, however,the airwave was awash with expectations from Journalists eager to hear from the Kano State police command under whose jurisdiction is the entire scenario. Without ado, the Kano State Commissioner of Police CP Muhammad Husaini Gumel confirmed that it was indeed a bullet which will be investigated by the police. He, however, assured that the bullet was not from a security personnel.

The situation had created more panic and apprehension among journalists, particularly Investigative Journalists.It raised the pertinent question that if a bullet could stray into the Government House, rendering it unsafe for Journalists, then where else would be safe for them?

This also speaks volumes of the sorry plight of practicing journalists in the State in the eyes of the current government of Abba Kabir Yusuf, more especially with the appointment of a more government inclined information machinery dubbed Senior Special Reporters (SSRs).

Again,it is no gainsaying that the Kano State Government prioritizes the needs of their young political appointees over and above those of practicing journalists in the state.

I have not doubt about Sunusi Bature’s qualifications and the awards he has so far garnered but at the same time, with such thoughtless defense from him, one may be forced to lament the depth of his negligence and lack of empathy as a professional spokesperson.

Indeed, protecting the image of the Kano State Government is his primary calling but as argued by sir Yushau in his 2013 piece, doing it more logically with mindset and lack of disregard for journalists is even bigger credit and image protection masterstroke whose credit goes to the government.

In a society where we are not practicing the ideas espoused in animal farm by George Owell, Kano State has produced alot of veteran journalists with high ethical standards on the job since the establishment of Gaskiya Ta Fi Kwabo and the Triumph Newspaper, Radio Kano and Abubakar Rimi Television.

However, the current generation of Journalists in the state still have a long way to go in emulating outstanding Journalists from the State such as Jafar Jafar of Daily Nigerian, Ibrahim Garba shuaibu and Nabila Muktar Uba of BBC Hausa.

When talking about security, Kano State is about the safest state in Northern Nigeria; this was even reiterated by the Kano Commissioner of Police, CP Muhammad Husaini Gumel, during his speech yesterday at Government House in commemoration of the International Day of living Together in Peace organised by Arewa youth.

Notwithstanding the stray bullet at the Government House can be alleged to have its target, but one cannot be to sure whom exactly was targeted. Could it be for the Journalist in order to make a statement while commemorating the world press Freedom Day or for the State Governor himself?

Lots of questions still linger amidst the absence of a comprehension report on the incidence uptill now and Sanusi Bature’s press release targeted at protecting the government but laced with many false claims.

Are Kano Journalists safe?

Hannatu Suleiman Abba writes for Arewa Agenda and Prime Time Newspaper.

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Mustapha Salisu

Mustapha Salisu is a graduate of BSc. Information and Media Studies from Bayero University Kano, with experience in Communication Skills as well as Public Relations.

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