Some news stories dished out by Nigerian newspapers have no bearing to the truth or to the country's national interest, Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole said in Abuja yesterday.

Speaking at the 9th Daily Trust Dialogue, the governor cited as example a recent newspaper report claiming that five mosques were destroyed in Benin City. He said some people tried to ignite an inter-communal clash from the city but that the efforts of the state government succeeded in thwarting. However, he said, he was surprised to read in a newspaper that five mosques were burnt in the crisis.

Oshiomhole said he rounded up the reporters and asked them to take him to the mosques that were burnt because he himself did not see them when he went round. He said when they could not show him any burnt mosque, he asked the reporter of the newspaper that carried the story why he wrote an untruth. The reporter, he said, replied that he did not file such a report but that his editors added it based on information they received from a foreign news agency.

At that point, the governor said he asked the reporter, "Who do your editors trust more? You, who is their correspondent here in Benin, or a foreign agency reporter who is probably based in London or Paris?"

Governor Oshiomhole also said he attends the Trust Dialogue because he has been a beneficiary of the newspaper's serving of fresh news. He described Daily Trust as one of the most respected newspapers in the country which has no room for sensationalism. He however said he found out that when government officials do not like a story, they describe it as sensational.

He urged the news media to always put the interest of the country first before other considerations such as profit motive. He condemned newspapers that accept wrap-around advertisements, saying he buys a newspaper to read the news, not to see the entire front page sold to an advertiser.


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