Dominic Nitiwul, the Defence Minister, has expressed his displeasure over media reportage after he appeared before Parliamentarians on Wednesday, June 16, to answer an urgent question filed by Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa concerning President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s luxurious travel abroad in a £15,000 per hour private jet.
According to him, media houses misquoted his response to the North Tongu MP’s question in Parliament.
Nitiwul told Paul Adom Otchere on Good Evening Ghana that he never said President Akufo-Addo wanted to shower in the sky, hence the decision for the state to hire him a luxurious £15,000 per hour private jet for his recent trip abroad.
“I said that no President using the [Falcon] can shower in the aircraft. No president can freshen up; I never said Akufo-Addo or Mahama or Kufuor, no I never said that.
In fact, three Presidents have used this aircraft before; President Mills used it, President Mahama used it and President Akufo-Addo has also used it. I was very amazed that [the media] chose to use the work Akufo-Addo cannot shower in the aircraft,” he explained.
He asked, “Why didn’t they say, John Mahama or President Mills couldn’t shower in the aircraft, why didn’t they say that?”
Dominic Nitiwul is of the view that it was mere mischief and propaganda by the media to single out President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in their reportage and not President Mills or Mahama.
“There are three Presidents that have used this aircraft and I said no President; why did they pick Akufo-Addo’s name, what is the motivation to pick Akufo-Addo’s name?
Were they trying to ridicule him to the people of Ghana? Why didn’t they say John Mahama?” he asked further.
Dominic Nitiwul said if he wanted to mention President Akufo-Addo’s name in his answer to the Parliamentarians, he would have done that.
“I was talking generally and not talking about a specific person nor specific period,” he noted.
The Defence Minister claims that he was shocked to have seen a headline that inferred his response in Parliament because in giving an answer to the urgent question filed by Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, he never mentioned Akufo-Addo cannot shower.
“…I was hit with some propaganda headline that Nitiwul says Akufo-Addo cannot bath in a presidential jet. Obviously wrong, misleading. I saw it on my phone, on joy online, and people started sharing. I was so shocked and like what sort of journalism do we have in Ghana. I didn’t say that. Even if you wanted to infer, quote what I have said [as the headline] and say that you are inferring.
I thought journalism should be higher than this. I thought that in journalism school, you are told not to think for the interviewer but rather quote what the interviewer has said…No minister would have said Akufo-Addo couldn’t shower in the Falcon; it is too silly and basic,” Nitiwul indicated.
He described the headline as “comedy”.
“You don’t reduce this very important topic to comedy…I think [journalism] standards have been lowered. I am actually going to petition the National Media Commission (NMC) so that at least they can use that opportunity to reaffirm what they teach journalists…yes you can infer but do the right thing by saying you are inferring. It is unfair to Akufo-Addo, unfair to Nitiwul and particularly, you are doing propaganda,” he stressed.