MISUNDERSTANDING, THE BANE OF COMMUNICATION. DOES YOUR AUDIENCE HEAR YOU RIGHT?
This topic brings to the fore recent declaration of Wednesday October 15, 2014 as a "horn-free day" by the Lagos State govt. The govt had observed that noise.....huge noise.....has evolved as a nuisance, a dangerous health hazard and pollutant. Govt had taken various steps to deal with it....albeit with little or no success. Main sources of noise pollution being religious houses, CD peddlers, and electricity generators. Chief among such sources is noise emanating from motor traffic...."danfo" drivers literarily beating out tunes with their horns! Latest information however indicates that a "luxurious bus" has knocked down a policeman in Ojota area of the state breaking his legs in the process! Reason? The bus driver did not honk his horn for fear of being arrested! By LASTMA..... The govt meant well by earmarking a day as horn-free. But did it communicate effectively? I am sure what the state govt meant was for commuters to use their horns only when necessary....and desist from its indiscriminate or irresponsible use.
I have also written about the total ban on "bush meats" in relation to Ebola prevention. In our clime, reference to "bush meat" implies bush rats, squirrels, guinea pigs or grass cutters....which are by no means reservoirs or hosts to the Ebola virus. The virus has predeliction for fruit bats which as its natural reservoirs, remains asymptomatic when infected. Its hosts are primates, which surely fall ill and likely die when infected....like monkeys. Though some Nigerian tribes have been reported to eat monkeys, most of our citizens prefer the rodents as listed earlier....to which they refer fondly as "bush meat"! The govt also meant well in this instance....but did it communicate well, accurately and effectively? So many of our citizens depend on hunting for their livelihoods.....and the economic backlash of such blanket ban is immense. On the comic side, I siezed on the opportunity so provided to cash in on the cheap prices of bush rodents during the "trending days" of the ban to stock my kitchen with the commodity. As I fed freely on them, I still await being ravaged by Ebola!
I hereby propose that our govt agencies, ministries, parastatals and departments submit all information meant for public consumption first to their ministries of information.....for scrutiny, modulation and vetting....prior to release.
Dr Tosin Akindele is a Lagos-based Medical Practitioner, a former Secretary of AGPMPN Ikorodu zone, a former Secretary of the Quackery Committee of AGPMPN Lagos State Branch, founder of Analytical Minds, a good health advocate and social critic.