The management of African Newspapers of Nigeria, publishers of the Tribune stable, has apologized to a former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, over a report claiming Mrs. Ezekwesili said President Muhammadu Buhari did not deserve his position.
The Sunday Tribune had reported that Mrs. Ezekwesili said Mr. Buhari did not deserve to be president for neglecting the 2000 recruits of the Nigeria Immigration Service, who slept in the open at the entrance of Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja from Friday till Saturday, to protest the reversal of their employment.
Mrs. Ezekwesili denied making the comments.
The apology from the management of Tribune was conveyed to Mrs. Ezekwesili via a letter signed by the managing director and editor in chief of the newspaper, Edward Dickson.
“I write on behalf of the Management to express our deep regrets over the publication in the Sunday Tribune of 21st August, 2016 as captioned above and tender unreserved apology for whatever embarrassment which the publication may have caused your associates and members of your family,” the letter said.
“The publication was just an unfortunate error which was never intended to embarrass anyhow.”
Mrs. Ezekwesili commended the paper for the “uncommon but very professional decision” for not only recanting the story, but also apologizing to her.
She also reacted to comments made by President Buhari’s spokesperson, Garba Shehu’s reaction to the false report credited to her.
Tribune had quoted Mr. Shehu as saying that if Mrs. Ezekwesili said the president did not deserve to be in office, she should set up a political party and run against him.
In her reaction, Mrs. Ezekwesili said, “on the basis of the fiction weaved together by a reporter, he let loose one of those now-very-common indecorous and rumor- inspired verbal assault from presidential spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu”.
“While I thank the newspaper for toeing the path of honour, I hope Mallam Garba Shehu will also be decent enough to admit his error of judgement and tender an unreserved apology for his falsehood and unwarranted attacks at me,” she said.
Mrs. Ezekwesili said it was important not to lose sight of the fate of the Immigration recruits.
“These are Nigerians from across the country,” she said
She said she was drawn to their plight while driving past where they had congregated, and saw among them a friend and Bring Back Our Girls, BBOG, colleague, Aisha Yesufu, who had taken up their cause.
“I spoke with them briefly and I had pleaded with the president to look into their matter,” she said.