Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s Special Assistant on Public Communications, Phrank Shaibu, criticised the BBC over its fact-check report stating that there was no evidence to show that President Bola Tinubu’s Chicago State University certificate was forged.
In a statement on Wednesday, Shaibu described the report as a hatchet job, adding that the outrage it had solicited from the generality of Nigerians was enough evidence to show that the BBC goofed.
Atiku’s aide said the BBC’s move was unsurprising as it was in line with a previous statement he had issued wherein he had revealed that the Tinubu administration was set to unleash its entire propaganda programme.
He said, “Sometime last week, when the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) issued a final warning to Arise News TV, we pointed out that the Tinubu administration was on the verge of launching a full-blown propaganda and also intimidating ‘uncooperative’ media houses into discrediting and downplaying the CSU scandal. Sadly, we never imagined that it would be the BBC that would become the willing tool.
“It is unconscionable, appalling and preposterous that in this current information age, a foreign medium of repute could try to bamboozle Nigerians with a jaundiced report when the details are clear for everyone to see. Thank God young Nigerians have begun filing complaints against the hack writers who decided to soil their names for a bowl of porridge.
“We are not ignorant of the machinations of the BBC and its bias towards the current government. It is unfortunate that the BBC is not upholding the same standards as they would uphold in the UK where a Prime Minister was forced out of office for hosting a party during COVID-19.
“In 2009, columnist Mehdi Hasan wrote in the New Statesman that the BBC was biased ‘towards power and privilege, tradition and orthodoxy.’
“It is no wonder that in the last one year, the only news medium that was given exclusive access to interview Tinubu was the BBC. It is sickening that the BBC has decided to surrender its platform to a man who was accused of illegal drug trafficking in the United States.
“In the so-called fact-check report, the BBC decided to bury in the last paragraphs the fact that Tinubu claimed to have attended Government College, Lagos in 1970 when the school was established in 1974. Why didn’t these so-called fact-checkers reflect it on their headline?
“What is the essence of the report when it failed to uncover the most critical questions? If this report was aimed at fact-checking, it should have mentioned the year the certificate was obtained by Tinubu from the CSU and if the one he submitted to INEC is the same one he received from CSU.”
Shaibu called on the BBC and other fact-checkers to be more circumspect, adding that their job was too sensitive to entertain errors.
He further advised media organisations to invest more in investigative journalism.