by Hauwa Gambo
Was this a tasteless play for web traffic or essential reporting by a dogged blogger?
The US-based Anyenes – who lost almost nine of their family members (Onyeka Anyene, his wife Maimuna, four children – including a set of twins – his mother in-law and two other relatives) – were in Nigeria for the wedding of Maimuna (the wife’s brother). It was on that journey that they boarded the fatal Dana Air aircraft.
(Read Victims’ families to be paid $100,000 HERE)
The blogger, Chris Kehinde Nwandu, who has followed the story of the family took a position that the marriage, scheduled for yesterday, should not go ahead. Apparently it did and he reported it with pictures (the pictures are available on his blog, CKN Nigeria:
On getting to the venue, gaining access was a big problem since we wre not on the invited list.Moreso, the family apparently wanted to keep the wedding away from the prying eyes of the media.
The organizers were shocked to see our crew. They tried to persuade us that there was nothing like a marriage going on.
Then, he proceeded to call the bereaved, “the most insensitive couple on earth”:
The most insensitive couple on earth..Smiling at their wedding today after losing their sister with her four kids,husband and mother..Maimuna’s brother and her bride today..She died in the Dana air crash while coming for this guy’s wedding,but they decided to go ahead with the wedding even when the bodies of the deceased were not yet buried including that of a twin of 2 years..CKN
After readers attacked his judgement, and in defense of his reporting, the blogger posted this today (unedited):
Contrary to some of the above belief, our aim is not to destroy the young marriage.We have tried as much as possible to as balance as we could in our reporting of the event..Sensationalism as we are been accuse of should be left to the judgment of our readers. As could be rightly see on our page, we have published almost three hundred comments of our readers on the issue(unedited)..Everyone has something positive or negative to say.
On our part, we believe and still STRINGLY too that the wedding should have been postponed for the following reasons.
1. Contrary to some opinions that the wedding was a family issue, this to us is not sustainable. The marriage stopped been a family issue immediately the Anyenne’s lost their entire household in that crash.
They have been transformed from a mere family to a national and International loss. Never in the history of Nigeria has a family lost such number in a single air crash. Their loss has become our pains. So whatever her immediate family was doing, the mood of the entire nation should have been taken into consideration.
2. A postponement of the wedding till the dead were buried would have been ideal ,atleast in order to respect Maimuna and her four children whose charred and burnt out bodies are still in the morgue.
3. The reason been adduced that it will be a double liss yo the family if it was postponed due to the elaborate arrangement and expenses already incurred is unsustainable..How much do you put I terms of value to life..How much does a life cost?..Here we are talking about nine people.
4. The theory that they were Muslims and therefore have no reason not to go ahead with the wedding is a complete mirage.
Yes,Maimuna’s family are moslems,but the Anyennes are Christians from the South. This automatically nullifies those analogy..The people being mourned are not mourned because they are Muslims or Christians..A little tarry would have solved this whole issue.
5. The wedding has put a complete a cloud in our resolve and advance towards inter tribal marriage as sustained by this couple. It leaves a sore taste in the mouth for the advocates of inter tribal marriages.
Many have attacked him on this reporting, and we have to agree. As another blogger Fred Nwonwu, said in response:
CKN. this is neither here nor there. Reporting on that marriage the way you did was tasteless. We, as writers and journalists, need to be mindful of how we cover news and the negative impact that news will have on innocent people.
All said, there are no stipulated mourning periods for the bereaved and no one can convince me we, the public, feel more pain than those directly affected.
It was sensationalism at its best Nwannem.
Do you agree that this is a strictly family tragedy – and the blogger was clearly in the wrong?
(#DanaCrash: What you can do to help HERE)