Speech by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, during his visit to Leadership Newspaper in Abuja

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed (right) and the Chairman of Leadership Newspapers, Mr. Sam Nda-Isaiah, during a courtesy visit by the Minister to the headquarters of newspapers in Abuja on Tuesday.

Permit me to sincerely thank the management and staff of the Leadership Newspaper for the warm reception they have always accorded us whenever we visit. As you are aware, we have been here at least twice since this Administration assumed office, and each time, you have received me and my entourage warmly. I thank you.

2.   Our very first visit to this newspaper was to solicit your support for the Administration as it kick-started the implementation of its programmes. We also made a return visit, this time to Leadership Hausa, for the same purpose. That was on January 20th 2016!

3.   Today, we are back. This time, it is to say thank you for all your support. Let me put it on record: Leadership newspaper has been very professional in its reporting of this Administration. You have supported us and you have criticised us, and each time you have been guided by the ethics of your profession – fairness, accuracy, impartiality, truthfulness, and objectivity.

4.   We have not always agreed with your editorial stance on issues.
For example, when we first raised the alarm on the dangers of fake news and disinformation, you wrote an editorial that seemed to have dismissed our concern at the time. I am happy to say that you have eventually seen the light, as the issue of fake news and disinformation, and the danger it poses to the polity, has become topical. We hope you will write another editorial to highlight the dangers posed by fake news and disinformation, which is now a global

5.   As I said earlier, our first visit to this newspaper was to solicit your support  for our programmes. Today, in addition to coming to thank you, I want to state clearly that we also have a success story to tell you, especially in the three cardinal programmes that form the plank of our Administration’s policy – Fight against insecurity, war against corruption and the revamping of the economy.

6.   Gentlemen, this Administration is proud to say that we are steadily restoring peace and security in the North-east, which was in the grip of the terrorists when we assumed office on the 29th of May 2015. We have put Boko Haram on the run. Occasionally, they attack soft targets, but even that is being tackled with intelligence-driven measures. We are tackling insecurity comprehensively, whether it is Farmer/Herders clash, Cattle rustling or kidnapping. Only this morning, the Federal Government launched the ”Policy Framework and National Action Plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism”.

7.   We are revamping the economy, as can be seen in the various economic indices. The Naira is largely stable, we have raised foreign reserves from 23 billion Naira to 35 billion Naira within a year, we have pulled the nation out of recession. Our economy is on a growth trajectory once again, after contracting for five consecutive quarters. We have been named among the top 10 reforming economies in the world. We have leapfrogged 24 places in the ease of doing business rankings. We are taming inflation, which has fallen for eight
consecutive months. We are building infrastructure and we are creating jobs. Also, I am glad to inform you that capital importation into Nigeria in Q3 2017 recorded a substantial increase, compared to the past few quarters, as the economy continued to recover from recession. The total capital imported in the third quarter was recorded at $4,145.1 million, more than double the inflow in the second quarter of this year, representing an increased value of 147.5% on a year-on-year basis.

8.   On the war against corruption, we are winning! We have succeeded in driving corruption under the table, and Nigerians are no longer celebrating the corrupt among us. Like I said at a different forum yesterday, this is one battle we must win, or corruption will simply annihilate us.

9.   Gentlemen, let me stop here and then take your questions.

10.   I thank you for your kind attention