Widely circulated reports especially on social media quoting Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, as saying “Nigerians eat too much rice, that’s why it is expensive”, has been dismissed as false.
The minister was quoted as making the comment yesterday during a meeting with an Agro company.
Dismissing the report as totally false, misleading and a sheer display of irresponsible journalism, Mr. Ogbeh expressed that the “mischievous headline” was completely at variance with the content of the news story.
A statement by the minister’s media aide, Aishat Ayijimoh Onusi, further described the report as reckless sensationalism and poor ethics.
According to the statement, Ogbeh decried the deliberate misinformation by the media, which he noted, has become a frequent occurrence and called for caution, self-censorship and ethical compliance by journalists and social media activists.
“For the avoidance of doubts, the minister stated that during a recent meeting he held with an indigenous Agro Company investing in the production of Irish Potato in Nigeria, he did talk about the health risk associated with the excessive consumption of rice and advised Nigerians to occasionally substitute rice with potato for improved diet”, Onusi said.
She, therefore, wondered how the statement attributed to the minister in the headline came about when no supporting statement or quote was provided in the content of the news report.
The statement advised Nigerians to beware of misleading headlines; pay close attention to media reports that come with such and should challenge the Press to abide by their professional ethics.