Audu Ogbeh, Minister of Agriculture and Rural development, has denied ever saying that the reason rice is now very expensive is because Nigerians consume so much of it.
A media report, not Ripples Nigeria, had quoted Ogbeh in its headline, as saying during a meeting with officials of VICAMPRO, a local Agro Company investing in production of Irish Potato on Wednesday in Abuja, that the reason the price of rice is at all-time high in the country was because Nigerians eat too much of it.
But the minister on Thursday, in a statement signed by his media aide, Aishat Ayijimoh Onusi, dismissed the report describing it as “false, misleading and a sheer display of irresponsible journalism, reckless sensationalism, and poor ethics.”
Ogbeh, who said the headline in question was completely at variance with the content of the news story, decried the deliberate misinformation by the media which has become a frequent occurrence and calls for caution, self-censorship and ethical compliance by journalists and social media activists.
According to the minister, what he talked about at the said meeting “was the health risk associated with the excessive consumption of rice and advised Nigerians to occasionally substitute rice with potato for improved diet.”
He said he was amazed at how the statement attributed to him in the headline came about when no supporting statement or quote was provided in the content of the news report to substantiate the headline.
Ogbeh therefore advised Nigerians to beware of misleading headlines and challenged Nigerian media to abide by their professional ethics.
By Ebere Ndukwu …
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