Sunday, 23 October 2005

Giving news a picture

Errors from Nigeria
Being a Nigerian of convenience rather than purpose, I find that I usually have a passing interest in events happening in the country or affecting their people.
Today, however, news coming out of Nigeria has been quite sad on two counts.
As one is almost always sentenced to accessing news feeds off CNN when one is away from home, just about 04:00 this morning in Antwerp the breaking news announced that a passenger aircraft had gone missing having taken off well over 8 hours before for a 50 minute flight.
What was most interesting about that announcement was that the news anchor linked up with the local CNN correspondent in Nigeria and as they were talking about the take-off from Lagos – the commercial capital of Nigeria – to the right of the screen was the map of Laos a country in Asia.
News from Nigeria
It took the best part of 2 minutes for that error to be corrected, but that exudes the fallibility of man and his systems.
As the plot thickened, it was not clear if the aircraft had ended up in the Atlantic Ocean and by the time we knew it, there was a brief reference to the oceanographic currents in that area which might have dragged the plane to some unknown Davy Jones’ locker.
As they surmised about the weather, the weather girl was drawn in to give a idea of the weather conditions 7 hours before – I suppose at times one does not need a weather forecast and we plumb for weather forensics.
As fate would have it, the aircraft did crash on land and it is a commendation of pilot skill that it appears there were survivors of the crash and probably up to half did survive, but there is no confirmation of numbers at the moment.
Sadness from Nigeria
The other piece of saddening news is the announcement of death of wife of the president and position of megalomania in Nigeria accorded the title “First Lady” – that topic would be addressed in some consequent dispatch.
Sadly, due to complications of surgery in Spain which was first confused with Germany – by CNN again – she lost the battle for life and died.
What is more concerning about this event is that a few years ago, the Defence Minister took ill and part of his recuperation therapy was the recommendation that he spent at least two weeks in the French Riviera.
If paid for, a life of such untrammelled opulence can just be the tonic one needs, though these rich Nigerians have plumbed the depths of excess too legendary for mention albeit without prejudice.
Situation from Nigeria
For a country that offered so much promise, awash with oil wealth and prodigious talent, the convenience of going abroad for treatment comes readily to the privileged, signifying not much has been done to raise the quality of access and service in the health industry.
As we mourn the First Lady and those who perished in the plane crash of whom number a few dignitaries, we hope that any other news out of Nigeria change in tone and context for good things.

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