Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed yesterday disowned the N398 million his ministry voted for the purchase of computers in their 2016 budget. During the defence of the ministry’s 2016 budget before the Senate Committee on Information, Lai Mohammed said the N230 million and N168 million voted for the purchase of computers for the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) and the National Film and Video Censors Board was strange to him.
“No, that is not possible. That was definitely not what was proposed, this cannot be,”he told the Senate Committee members.
An official of the ministry who spoke said only N5 million was proposed for the item in the original budget of the NFVCB. A member of the committee, Senator Ben Murray Bruce, expressed his displeasure at the development surrounding the ministry’s budget and also queried the fact that the needs of those in the North East were not considered in the budget.
According to Murray-Bruce, effective communication of events in the North East to residents in that region is very important. He said Radio networks and Television stations can be effectively used to manage the crisis in the North.
“It would have made more sense for the information budget of the Army to be given to the Ministry of Information to equip these stations manned by NTA and FRCN used by the military as a source of communication. For instance, if there is going to be an air raid in a particular area, we can warn the citizens to stay off that particular area. The media can be used like when Buhari did in 1983 for War against Indiscipline, War Against Corruption, so National Orientation should use the medium that we have. NTA is a phenomenal network, it has more assets than any station in the whole of Africa today, NTA must be worth 400 million dollars in the open market today.”he said