By James, Michael Igiri
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has appealed to media in Nigeria to stop jeering at the Federal Government, but instead support it in the war against corruption.
Alhaji Mohammed made the appeal on Monday at the 68th General Assembly of the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) in Abuja, where he was the special guest of honour.
The Minister who berated some of what he termed, “negative” comments about the federal government by some media organisations explained that it was counter-productive and if not addressed had the tendency to set the nation on a wrong path.
“Without mincing words, let me use this platform to appeal directly to the media, in general, to join this administration in facing the problem of corruption,” he said.
“As we have said times without number, this fight must not be seen as Buhari’s fight alone. It must not be seen as the Federal Government’s fight; it is our fight.”
He said while it was okay for the media to criticise government strategies, some of the headlines published or broadcast recently were however quintessentially jeering.
“In recent times, it is not unusual to read such headlines ‘Buhari’s Government Losing Anti-Corruption War’, ‘Buhari’s Anti-Corruption War Is Failing’, ‘Arewa Youths Knock President Buhari over failing anti-corruption war’. This is sheer mockery.”
He therefore appealed to the media to join the federal government in the fight against corruption, since such responsibility was, “born out of the fact that the 4th Estate of the Realm cannot afford to sit on the fence as far as this fight is concerned.”
“We are not saying that the media should not criticize us over our strategy for the fight but it should stop mocking us.
The Minister further explained that while many of the country’s problems have rightly been blamed on corruption it was an issue that had to be tackled decisively lest it destroyed the country.
“If we fail to win by defeating corruption, it will simply overwhelm us as a nation,” he warned.
It would be recalled President Buhari had been elected into office in 2015 on the back of promises to fight corruption, tackle insecurity and revamp Nigeria’s economy, among others.
More than two years after the birth of the administration, Mr Mohammed said the toughest issue it has faced is the war against corruption.
“When the media is not fully on board, the fight against corruption becomes tougher. When the media sits on every setback we suffer prosecuting this war, they give succour to the corrupt. When the media falls for the distraction tactics of those who are mortally afraid of this war, they weaken the battle.
“Why? Because fighting corruption anywhere in the world is like walking a lonely road. While many will join hands with you to tackle insecurity or to revamp the economy, you are on your on when you take on corruption,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed further revealed there was a serious resistance to the war against corruption because many Nigerians were beneficiaries.
“Now that the gravy train of corruption is fast derailing, many are finding it hard to come to terms with it. That is the origin of the bring back corruption campaign being carried out by certain elements in our society,” he said.
He however believes that with the mass media on board, government would be better kitted in the fight against the dreaded malaise which has plagued the nation for so long.