The hottest topic in Kannywood’s media last week is Aminu Sharif Momoh’s Interview with actress Ummah Shehu on Arewa24’s Kundin Kannywood. Kundin Kannywood is a weekly program by the Hausa channel which is being hosted by actor Aminu Sharif every Wednesday. Momoh, who is infamous for putting Kannywood actors and actresses on the hot seat and ask some really tricky but unnecessary questions,asked the actress the name of the woman that breastfed prophet Muhammad (SAW). She tried to dodge the question by telling him not to do this to her but Momoh insisted anyway. Her response obviously showed that she didn’t know the name of the woman, which caused a media frenzy,and why not? These are the basic things we’ve been taught since primary one in Islamiyya,so it is expected of every Muslim to know them.

As usual people on social media reacted with mixed emotions; while some people believe that his question is still valid and on point because things like this will help keep the actress and her colleagues on their toes; others (including me) think it’s irrelevant, unnecessary and completely out of context. I mean Ummah Shehu isn’t famous because she’s some kind of an Islamic Scholar, memorized the Qur’an or Hadith. She’s famous because she’s an actress. That’s her field and that’s why she’s been invited for the interview. So, it’s only fair and of course, professional if he limits his questions there.

In Her Defence:

Not knowing the name of the woman that breastfed the prophet (SAW) isn’t the same thing as not knowing the seven obligations of ablution. It is equally not the same as not been able to recite Suratu Fatiha. Similarly the question apparently caught Ummah off guard which could happen to any of us especially while on air. You’ll find out that you know it but when you have the pressure of answering a question quickly with camera on you or a live audience listening in, it can be much more challenging and can fluster even the most confident people. And if Momoh did it intentional just to ambush her, as some people believe, I’d only say he has exposed the entire Kannywood industry as I’m sure there are many like her and I look forward to watching his Live Chat with Bello Muhammad Bello.

In his Defense:

It’s hard to blame him on mistakes like this because he is an actor not a journalist. Secondly, he was probably being honest and trying to appease his viewers because we all want to hear the off-screen lives of our favourite actors and questions like that, if asked rightly, are what make interviews enjoyable.

Arewa24’s insensitivity:

After all that has happened, Arewa24 did another video, clearly stating how their YouTube visitors increased after the video went viral. Like seriously? Someone’s reputation is on the line because of your employee’s mistake and you can’t even apologize? I find this utterly insensitive. They were trying to say that both parties benefitted because her Instagram followership also increased by 4.7 percent. I am still trying to understand how that will help reduce the number of insults she gets daily which forced her to protect her Instagram account some days ago. How about Arewa24 help us find the percentage of those that unfollowed her and that of her fans that felt disappointed with this monumental embarrassment.

What I think:

Whatever way you look at it, it was an embarrassing episode for Ummah Shehu and I think Arewa24 should apologize to her. I also think she should have told Momoh -straightforward that she will not answer the question or any other one on religion. On the other hand, had Momoh not insisted, we would hardly notice. However I don’t need to remind Ummah Shehu to go and find out the name of the woman that breastfed the prophet and more, because I’m sure hundreds of people have told her by now. Though I need to remind Momoh to rethink his methods, read more on Journalism, perhaps even get a certificate on it and revisit its ethics. Some of his questions are really unnecessary. For instance, I watched an episode of Kundin Kannywood where he asked another actress about the stand of Islam on a wig (she wears). And if it interest him, I have reached a very fine and competent journalist about this and I found out ( by coincidence though) that this journalist is a follower of his program and he told me that not only his interview with Shehu, there are lapses in his approach and he needs to differentiate between two scenarios: while he’s on a movie set and while hosting an interview.

Hafsah Lalo is a writer hailed from Jos, Plateau State. Currently a student of Information Technology at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Bauchi. You can follow her on twitter: @Grtsunnist

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