Vanguard Newspaper on Saturday said it is investigating the chairman of its editorial board, Mr. Ocherome Nnanna over a comment he made on a social media platform on Friday.
Nnanna who is also a columnist with the publication made what many have said is a disparaging remark about the Yoruba ethnic group by calling them, “sophisticated morons” in a Facebook thread over the award of Nigeria’s highest honour to Moshood Abiola.
The statement elicited uproar and widespread condemnation, especially from the South West elements in the social media which has forced the owners of Vanguard newspaper to respond to the strident calls for the head of its longest-serving member of staff.
In a statement on Saturday afternoon, Vanguard said it is investigating the matter and pledged its commitment to responsible journalism.
The statement signed by Gbenga Adefaye, editor-in-chief of the newspaper, said though Nnanna made the remark in a private conversation, Vanguard had already started probing it.
“Our attention has been drawn to an off hand comment made by Mr. Ochereome Nnanna, the Chairman of the Vanguard Editorial board,” the statement read.
“The comment, allegedly disparaging an ethnic section of the nation was ostensibly made as part of private conversation on a social media tread.
“While we are carefully interrogating the veracity of the comment, with a decisive response to the author, we wish to acknowledge that the statement was made entirely as part of a private conversation. Vanguard dissociates itself totally from such unwarranted but careless, private outburst.
“But we also wish to stress that Mr Nnanna’s position ( as indeed like that of any senior editorial staff at the Vanguard) must always reflect a circumspect conduct that takes into cognizance the sensitive nature of our responsibility , and in particular, the need to maintain decorum and decency in all conduct and dealings, whether private or public, formal or virtual.”
“We will like to re assure our patrons, readers and stakeholders that Vanguard newspapers will always remain on the path of correct professional etiquette, practice responsible journalism and adhere to the highest ethics of fairness, objectivity and just conduct, as these are essential ingredient for peace and growth in a plural and multifaceted society such as ours,” he said.
“We will like to place on record that Vanguard newspapers will continue to do all within its power to ensure that we do not betray the trust that has been reposed in us by the public.
“Rest assured that we will continue to improve and fine tune our internal processes and adopt a fair dose of self regulation to ensure that we remain truly focused to the ideals of conscientious journalism devoid of profiling, bigotry and prejudice.”