The Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, Bayo Onanuga, came under serious attack on Tuesday after saying that the supposed hardship being clamoured by Nigerians was a ‘mere propaganda’ being inflamed by those who lost the 2015 election and spread about by the media.
In a Facebook post Tuesday, Mr. Onanuga said his findings has shown that the cost of food items had not gone up, contrary to reports in the media.
“I was in Bauchi and Jos at the weekend, I also found that food was cheap everywhere. In our hotel, we paid about N700 for a plate of semovita, or eba with a choice of cat fish or chicken.
“On the roadside, I found to my surprise that with just N1000, I bought over 50 oranges, two giant water melon and 10 pieces of sweet potato.
“I had experienced a similar thing in the market at Abuja, where I found that with N1, 400, I could make a big vegetable soup, with tomato, pepper and roasted Titus fish.
“Are the media and bloggers really painting a correct image of our country? It’s time for the media to objectively conduct a reality check about our reports, whether we are not over sensationalising so-called hardship that we talked about.”
He also narrated how his daughter, who flew a Virgin Atlantic flight from Lagos to London, found many Nigerians on board amid the seeming “hard economy”.
“My daughter was on the Virgin Atlantic Flight that took off from Lagos to London today.
“I asked her to find out whether the plane was filled up or going to London near empty judging by the noisy campaign from a section of the country about the ‘hardship’ in our country.
“My daughter sent back this one-line text, after boarding: “daddy, the flight was filled up o.
“This makes me to wonder whether all the seeming orchestrated campaign in the media was not mere propaganda to make the Buhari regime look really bad.”
His post generated so much controversy and criticism that someone suggested his account must have been hacked but when Mr. Bayo Onanuga was contacted, he confirmed that he authored the post and maintained that the claim of hardship was politically motivated.
He told PREMIUM TIMES:
“I am not saying there’s no problem in our country, but some of the things are exaggerated. I just raised a kind of intervention to ask are these things really true.
“I have seen photographs of children suffering from kwashiorkor and they are passing them off as what’s happening in Nigeria.”
Bayo Onanuga, is a renowned Nigeria journalist, who was among those who confronted the tyranny of military rule in Nigeria in the 1980s and 1990s. He suffered persecution during the Sani Abacha dictatorship and fled the country in December 1997.
Before he was appointed head of NAN, Mr. Onanuga, a multiple award winning publisher, editor, and reporter, was the chief executive officer of The News/PM News.