By Isaac Ojo
In sincere remorse for a slanderous content recently published by Orient Daily Newspaper, which was inappropriately linked to the Anglican Archbishop of the Province of the Niger and Bishop of Awka Diocese, His Grace, Most Reverend Alexander Chibuzo Ibezim, the media organisation has tendered an unreserved apology to the Anglican prelate.
In a letter of apology sent to the Archbishop, Orient Daily Newspaper noted that the news report titled “Awka Anglican Bishop, ex-knight in corruption scandal publication” and published on page 7 of their last weekend’s edition, was never borne out of any ill-motivation towards or against his personality or office, and promised never to repeat such again.
Dated September 28, 2020 and captioned ‘Apology to Your Grace the Most Reverend Alexander C. Ibezim’, the letter reads in parts,
“Our attention has been drawn to a news report we carried on page 7 of our last weekend edition, titled ‘Awka Anglican Bishop, ex-knight in corruption scandal’.
“Having now verified that the story and the circumstances of its publication, we deeply regret that the story ever had to be so inappropriately, unnecessarily and improperly linked to Your Grace.
May we, hereby, offer our unreserved and heartfelt apology to Your Grace for that publication.
“We are currently taking firm and appropriate internal measures to deter a repeat of this unfortunate error which, we can assure you, was never borne out of any ill-motivation towards the person and office of Your Grace.
“As an immediate step, we have pulled down the publication from our online portal and will duly publish an apology to Your Grace in subsequent publication if you would so permit.
“As part of your flock in the Province on the Niger, we hold Your Grace, and the office you so honourably occupy, in very high esteem and cannot knowingly allow any action to debase these, for whatever reason.
“We beg Your Grace to kindly forgive this publication, with our assurance that there will never be a repeat of it, in future and evermore.”
Reacting to the letter, Archbishop Ibezim accepted the apology without prompting, but wondered what is the need to rush to press without proper investigation.
He noted that it is imperative for journalists to do their homework of investigating their news materials before making such available for public consumption.
“It would have been a different song, if the Orient Daily Newspaper had met us in court for libel, but when I saw their apology letter, I was handicapped. Journalists should be journalists and nothing else,” he said.