Okonjo-Iweala: Swiss newspaper apologises for ‘this grandmother’ headline

Okonjo-Iweala: Swiss newspaper apologises for ‘this grandmother’ headline

The Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Monday, March 1, expressed gratitude to “UN Women Leaders and the 124 Ambassadors in Geneva who signed a petition” against a racist newspaper.

Okonjo-Iweala further remarked that “calling out the racist & sexist remarks was important and timely that they’ve apologized.”

The headline of the newspaper had described the new WTO Chief as ”this grandmother”.

1st News also garnered that a total of 124 ambassadors; as well as heads of international organisations based in Geneva have criticised some Swiss newspapers for describing Okonjo-Iweala as a “66-year-old Nigerian grandmother”.

At least three Swiss newspapers — Luzerner Zeitung, Aargauer Zeitung, and St. Galler Tagblatt — primarily described Okonjo-Iweala as a grandmother following her announcement as the director-general of the World Trade Organisation.

“This Grandmother will become the new boss of WTO,” the headline of a report by Luzerner Zeitung read.

The article was published in the online and print versions of the newspaper.

In a tweet on Friday, Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger, premanent representative of Austria to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva, said ambassadors and heads of international organizations sent a letter to the editors of the newspapers over the article.

Tichy-Fisslberger shared a copy of the letter, which described the publication as demeaning to Okonjo-Iweala and the WTO.

The ambassadors called for a balanced and objective report reflecting the WTO DG’s qualifications.

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“The title you found appropriate to choose for your report on the new Director-General of the World Trade Organisation; ‘This grandmother will head the WTO’ landed you with a wave of outrage in various social media,” the letter reads.

Meanwhile, the Department of State Services (DSS) has stated the arrest of Mallam Salihu Tanko-Yakassai, the Media Aide to Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State followed issues beyond the expression of opinion in social media.

The Public Relations Officer of the DSS, Dr Peter Afunanya, announced this in a statement on Sunday, February 28, in Abuja.

“This is to confirm that Salihu Tanko-Yakasai is with the DSS; and he is being investigated over issues beyond the expression of opinions in the social media as wrongly alleged by sections of the public,’’ he stated.

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