Corrupt elements obfuscating FG’s good work – Info Minister

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Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has accused corrupt elements of doing everything possible to obfuscate the good work of the Muhammadu Buhari administration, as a response to the government’s determined fight against corruption

Uba Group

Mohammed said this while addressing members of staff of the Nigerian Embassy in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, saying that as the government fights corruption, corruption is also fighting back, using even unsuspecting sources.

“This is the biggest challenge facing the administration at the moment,” he declared.

He however assured that the Buhari administration remains determined and focused in its efforts to root out corruption in the country.

Responding to a question on how the government can better ensure flow of timely and accurate information to Nigerian missions abroad, the minister said the ministry would launch an Information App on December 15, to provide real time information to Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora.

The minister also added that the ministry is considering setting up a Foreign Service Information System as part of plans to furnish the nation’s foreign missions with the much-needed information, especially for prospective investors and tourists.

He told the embassy staff that apart from using traditional means of communicating with the people, the Buhari administration has resorted to holding Town Hall meetings to better inform Nigerians of the activities of government, as well as to get the necessary feedback on government’s programmes and policies.

Mohammed however disclosed that the Town Hall meetings, which had held in five states and Abuja so far, will from next year hold on sectoral basis, to provide more information to Nigerians on key sectors, including agriculture, infrastructural development and the economy.

He also told his audience that efforts are in top gear to revitalise the National Orientation Agency, which he said is the closest to the grassroots, with a view to strengthening it to be able to communicate government’s programmes and policies to Nigerians

“We are reinventing the NOA in a more professional manner. The challenge is to better equip the NOA staff with the latest communication facilities so that they can do their work more effectively,” he said.

Mohammed, who was in Abu Dhabi to attend the International Conference on the Safeguarding of Cultural Heritage in Conflict Areas, said the administration has acquitted itself creditably in fighting the insurgency in the North-East, tackling the incessant clashes between farmers and herders and taking concrete measures to end the militancy in the Niger Delta.

He revealed that the government has already provided 200,000 of the 500,000 jobs it promised under the N-Power Volunteers Programme, while at the same time embarking on an agricultural initiative that will see Nigeria become self-sufficient in rice and wheat in the shortest time possible.

On the current economic recession bedeviling the nation, the minister said, “We are spending our way out of this recession, we are investing massively in infrastructural development: roads, railways, power etc, and creating jobs in the process.”

Earlier, the Charge d’Affaires, Mr. Nura Rimi, said the embassy is carrying out its assignment diligently, in spite of the challenges facing it, adding that it recently bagged an award for excellence from the United Arab Emirates authorities, one of only three missions in the UAE to win the award.

Issues raised by the embassy staff during the interactive session with the minister include the suspension of flights to Abuja by Emirates Airlines, visa restriction to Nigerians willing to travel to the UAE, the need for Nigeria to tap from the $350 million renewable energy fund that is available in the UAE and the possibility of Nigeria partnering with the UAE Red Crescent to assist the Internally Displaced Persons in the North-East.

Top embassy staff at the parley include: Mr. Aliyu Hamman, Minister, Economic; Mr. Rabiu Lawal, Minister, Consular; Mr. Zakari Usman, Senior Counsellor; Mr. Adesoye Samotu, Senior Counsellor, Mr. Bukar Salihu Malgin, Finance Attache and Mr. Mohammed Bashar Magaji, Immigration Attache), among others.