Information Minister Urges Media Not To Elevate Enemies Of The Country

 

Yemisi Izuora 

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has

challenged the media to contextualize their reporting so that those

who destroyed Nigeria will not be made to look like the country’s new

saviours.

The Minister said this when the Chief Executive Officer of TVC

Communications, Mr. Andrew Hanlon, led a team of top officials of the

company on a courtesy visit to the Minister in his office in Abuja on

Tuesday.

”We are on a rescue mission. However, the way a section of the media

is reporting the challenges facing the country today does not reflect

that understanding. They are making a corrective administration to

look like the culprit, to give the impression that the rain started

beating us in Nigeria only from 29 May 2015, to play down the

challenges that this Administration has faced and which it is

successfully tackling.

”For example, we did not get to where we are today in just three

years. It has taken successive decades of bad governance, unbridled

corruption, lack of probity, a culture of impunity and a near state of

anarchy. These are the ills this Administration inherited and which it

has set out to tackle. And this is what the media must reflect in

their reporting,” he said.

Alhaji Mohammed said but for the prudence, probity and the

anti-corruption stance of this Administration, the situation could

have been worse, adding: ”Instead of recession, we could have had a

total collapse of the economy. The power grid could have collapsed

altogether. Corruption could have overwhelmed the society. Boko Haram

could have turned Abuja to Bama or Konduga. Food imports could have

tripled what it was pre-May 29th 2015 and the Naira might have

been worse hit.”

He, therefore, challenged the media to do more to educate Nigerians

”that it is hard to build but easy to destroy, that the same people

who presided over yesterday’s looting of our treasury are today posing

as would-be saviours of Nigerians, that this Administration is

rebuilding almost from the scratch with 60% less revenue, that the

corrupt ones are spending millions of Naira to paint the government of

the bad, and that Nigeria is not returning to Egypt”.

The Minister said when this Administration assumed office, the price

of oil, the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy, had dropped to around $30

from over $100, foreign reserves stood at a low of $24 billion, the

Federal Government was borrowing to pay salary, some 27 states were

owing arrears of salary, contractors were being owed over several

years, infrastructure was in poor state, power generation was 2,690

megawatts, billions were being paid as ‘fuel subsidies’ to fat cats,

corruption had emptied the treasury while 20 of the 27 local councils

in Borno were under Boko Haram control.

”Today, the trend is being reversed and the results are showing:

Foreign Reserves is now $42.8b, inflation has fallen for 12

consecutive months to 15.13%, 108 billion Naira has been saved from

the removal of maintenance fees payable to

banks pre-TSA, the nation is saving 24.7 billion Naira monthly with

the full TSA implementation, the elimination of ghost workers has

saved the nation 120 billion Naira, capital inflow reached $1.8

billion in the second quarter of 2017, almost double the $908 million

in the first quarter, while Nigeria’s stock market is one of the

best-performing in the world, delivering returns in excess of 40

percent.

”Nigeria has also jumped 24 places on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing

Business ranking and earned a place on the List of Top 10 Reformers in

the world, the Administration has repeatedly given bailouts for states

to pay salary, the Administration’s Agricultural Revolution is a huge

success, with agriculture export up year-on-year by 25%, rice import

from Thailand dropping 644,000 Metric Tonnes to 22,000MT and rice

farmers growing from 5 million to 12.3 million, the Home-Grown School

Feeding Programme has created jobs for 61,352 cooks, and it is

providing 6.4 million school children in 33,981 schools across 20

states with one meal a day,” he said.

Alhaji Mohammed also noted that the N-Power programme has employed

200,000 graduates, that power generation has reached an all-time high

of over 7,000MW, that infrastructural development is going on at a

massive rate across the country, that corruption has been driven under

the table and Boko Haram has been massively degraded.

He said a free press is indispensable to democracy, and assured that

the Administration will not do anything to stifle the press

Earlier, Mr. Hanlon had assured the Minister of TVC Communication’s

commitment to the country’s audio-visual landscape, while announcing

that a new radio station will open in Abuja in April as part of the

company’s aggressive investment programme.

Also on the entourage of the TVC Communications CEO were Mr. Ronan

Redmond, TVC’s Director of Commercial; Mr. Babatunde Kolade Otitoju,

Head of News and Mr. Taiwo Amodu. the Abuja Bureau Chief

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