“ISIS luring foreign students with money”, Lai Mohammed warns Nigerians.

The federal government has said the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) now recruits foreign students into their organisation using financial inducements.

Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, in a statement issued in Abuja on Monday, raised alarm over the new recruitment strategy.

He urged parents and guardians to monitor the activities of their children and wards in order to prevent them from being recruited.

The minister appealed to Nigerians, especially those who have children and wards in foreign academic institutions, to pay more attention to their activities.

He also urged schools across the country to enlighten their students on the new ISIS’ recruitment strategy.

The minister cited the recent recruitment into ISIS of 27 medical students of the University of Medical Sciences and Technology (UMST) in Sudan as an example of the new strategy being used by the organisation to recruit more members.

Quoting a report received by the Nigerian intelligence community, the minister said 22 of the 27 students, who travelled to Syria to join ISIS, are Britons.

“According to the report, the students were recruited by one Mohammed Fakhri Al-khabbas, a former UMST student from Middlesborough, United Kingdom.

“Many of the students are children of reputable doctors in the UK. Their Social Media accounts also revealed them as praising Jihadists and championing ISIS’ cause,” he said.


Source: The Cable

FG to reduce agencies at ports from fifteen to six – Lai Mohammed

Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, says the government will cut the number of agencies across Nigerian seaports and airports from 15 to six.

Mohammed, who is also a member of Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), said once the council prunes the number of agencies at the ports to six, it will be possible for people to clear their goods within 24 or 48 hours.

He reiterated the government’s commitment to improving Nigeria’s ranking in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index, saying the current ranking of 169 out of 190 countries is unacceptable.

“It’s unsatisfactory that today we are ranked 169 out of 190. That is not very good and the things that we don’t take seriously, like a file staying for 14 days on somebody’s desk, add to this poor ranking,” he said.

“People don’t seem to appreciate how the poor attitude to work impacts negatively on the image of Nigeria and the ease of doing business.

“This is what this Council has been working on since last year and I am proud to say that this Council has been working slowly and steadily but they are actually achieving results.”

Citing the example of Georgia, which was ranked in the 160s a few years ago but currently occupies the fifth position on the global index, Mohammed said though the task of moving Nigeria up the ladder is daunting, there is the abundance of the political will on the part of government to achieve such improvement.

Jumoke Oduwole, executive secretary of PEBEC, who paid Mohammed a visit said the 2017 priority areas for business reform include starting a business, getting credit, trading across the border, paying taxes, construction permits and registering property.

She said three areas prioritized based on engagement with the private sector are entry and exit of goods, entry and exit of people and government transparency.

“The Visa-on-Arrival Programme has been updated to include e-submission,” Oduwole said.

“Before people had to go to the Immigration Office to submit in person so that the Comptroller General of Immigration could give his assent, but now you can submit and they is also a dedicated desk and you don’t have to go physically anymore.”

She disclosed that the council has harmonised the entry and exit forms being managed by different agencies of government at our airports and today, instead of filling four different forms to exit you fill only one and the number of questions on that single form has now been reduced from 23 to 15.

The PEBEC secretary said the authorities at the ports have been mandated to install the iCheck Security Solution Technology, which will phase out the entry and exit forms in due course.

She also disclosed that 11 bills are currently before the national assembly, which will tremendously enhance the ease of doing business in Nigeria when they are eventually enacted into law.


Source: The Cable

‘I’m proud to be a Nigerian’, Lai declares after visiting NLNG

Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, says he is proud to be a Nigerian.

The minister said this after a facility tour of the plant of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited on Bonny Island, Rivers state.

He described the NLNG as a shining example of the Nigerian success story in management and technical competence.

“Until I came here I did not know that Nigeria has a humongous asset as the NLNG. I have been reading about NLNG but coming here and having a firsthand experience and information, the briefing and the tour of the place have actually changed my mind completely about the NLNG,” he said in a statement issued by Segun Adeyemi, his media aide, on Wednesday.

“I am inspired, excited and proud to be a Nigerian. This probably is the best success story of this country and my pride largely derives from the fact that this company is run by Nigerians. The management entirely represents Nigeria and when you look at the complexity of the operation, I’m also very proud that this is coming from Nigeria.”

Mohammed said the NLNG was the incubator for the growth of the nation’s oil and gas industry, and that if adequately encouraged, the company would replicate in Nigeria the kind of transformation that Qatar did with its gas reserves.

He urged the media to continue to project the NLNG positively to ensure that the vision of the company is realised.

In his remarks, Tony Attah, managing director of the NLNG, said the time had come for Nigeria to unleash its gas potential and power the economy, especially as the country has the ninth largest gas reservoir in the world with a proven 187 trillion cubic feet.

Attah said in order to realise the dream, the NLNG was embarking on the ambitious project for the construction of trains seven and eight, which would attract $25 billion foreign direct investment and the creation of 18,000 jobs in the construction phase alone.

“It’s time for gas and it’s time for Nigeria and we believe this is possible. We see that opportunity from trains seven and eight unleashing the gas potential. We see deliberate opportunities of the country going after the 600TcF of gas (reserve).  In building trains seven and eight, potential investment that will be coming is about $25 billion,” he said.

Attah said the country, through the NLNG, had succeeded in reducing gas flaring from 65 percent to 20 percent, and that it would continue to diversify the energy resources and monetise gas in the country.

According to him, the NLNG has so far paid $5.5 billion in taxes and $15 billion in dividends to the federal government and has spent $13 billion on the purchase of gas to process into liquefied form.

Jonathan trying to distract us from rescuing Chibok girls – Lai Mohammed

Minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has accused former President Goodluck Jonathan of trying to distract the current administration from securing the release of the Chibok schoolgirls.

In a statement issued on Monday by Segun Adeyemi, his media aide, Mohammed urged Jonathan to stop engaging in “finger-pointing” over the abduction.

He was reacting to Jonathan’s statement in which he said, “Some people who have obviously been playing politics with the issue of the Chibok girls will stop at nothing to further their interest”.

The former president said this while reacting to reports that he rejected an offer by the British government to rescue the girls.

But Mohammed said Jonathan’s statement was “an unnecessary distraction from ongoing efforts to secure the release of the girls who remain in captivity, long after they were abducted”.

“While former President Jonathan reserves the right to defend his administration, he should not engage in finger-pointing by saying, in a statement, that ‘some people who have obviously been playing politics with the issue of the Chibok girls will stop at nothing to further their interest’, Mohammed said.

He said “if anyone ever played politics with the issue of Chibok girls, it was the administration under whose watch the girls were abducted”.

“After the girls were kidnapped and the Jonathan administration did nothing for all of 15 days or make any determined efforts to rescue them thereafter, our party, the then opposition APC, told the nation several times that the whole Boko Haram crisis was allowed to escalate by the PDP-controlled federal government so they can use it as a political tool ahead of the 2015 elections,” Mohammed said.

“In a statement on 8 September 2014, we said: ‘President Jonathan-PDP’s political manipulation of the Boko Haram has to be understood as part of its poker-like calculus for clinging on to political power ahead of
the 2015 elections. The Boko Haram crisis is readily used by the PDP to rationalise the Jonathan government’s abdication of its constitutional responsibilities, including visits and assistance to areas affected as well as effective response to abductions (eg the GEJ government was silent over the Chibok girls kidnaps for over 15 days).’

“Two-and-a-half years after that statement, we have been vindicated by the report that claimed President Jonathan rebuffed an attempt by the British government to help rescue the girls. We hope the former President will now refrain from stoking further controversy over the lingering abduction issue and allow the government of the day to focus on its ongoing negotiations to secure the release of the Chibok

The girls – about 273 – were abducted from a dormitory at Chibok in Borno state on April 14, 2014. Dozens of them have returned, but 192 are still in captivity.


Source: The Cable

Buhari not critically ill, not in hospital, says Lai Mohammed.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, says President Muhammadu Buhari is neither critically ill nor in life threatening situation and there is no cause for alarm.

The minister reiterated this position on Monday in Umuahia at the second town hall meeting for the South East and the launch of national reorientation campaign, “Change Begins With Me’’ in Abia.

The minister, who was asked to tell the country about the health condition of the president and whether there was need for a regular briefing on his health stressed that there was no reason for such briefings.

“If Mr president is in the hospital or is critically ill, as minister of information, I will give daily bulletin on his health. “Mr president is neither critically ill nor in the hospital and there is nothing life threatening about the checks he is going through,’’ he said.

Speaking on the state of the economy, the minister said that it was corruption that made the prices of commodities to go up. He noted that no economy in the world could survive the blind and reckless looting perpetrated by the previous administration.

“If one person was found with almost 10 million dollar in an uncompleted house and another with 136 million dollar in fake account and other with N7 billion how can the economy survives the kind of looting. “Naturally the price of commodities will go up.

“These are funds meant for development of infrastructure and for provision of services. “That is why you cannot do anything with the economy without first facing corruption squarely.

“But the good news is that the government is doing both together, as we are fighting corruption, we are also making sure that we are ensuring we are out of recession by investing heavily on infrastructure. Mohammed also pacified the audience who lamented the spate of attacks on farmers by the herdsmen.

“I want to make the appeal that the strength of Nigeria is in its diversity and unity. “We have been living together peacefully before and we shall continue to live together peacefully,’’ he said.

Speaking in same vein, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, apologised on behalf of the Federal Government to the farmers who had suffered from the ugly trend.

“We in the Ministry of Agriculture are mostly affected in this crisis and frankly we feel deeply disturbed about it.

“Like the two traditional rulers had said, you asked people to go and farm and there is this problem of herdsmen tormenting them and their cattle eating up their crops.

“It is affecting not only the farmers but the food that they are supposed to produce and sell to the society. “As a farmer, nothing can be more upsetting to wake up and find out that my farm has been destroyed.

They have done it to me and I know how it badly affected me but we will bring the challenge to an end very soon,’’ he said. Ogbeh said the Federal Government is training 3000 agro rangers who will protect farms in different places.


Source: The Guardian

FG Says Digital Switchover Deadline Is Achievable.

The Federal Government has asked Nigerians not to rule out the possibility of achieving the digital broadcast switchover deadline of June 2017 set by the International Telecommunications Union.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, made the call on Thursday at a public hearing of the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee set up to investigate the process of the planned digital switchover in Nigeria.

He stressed the need to review the business model inherited from the previous administration before the set deadline.

“We know it’s very ambitious but if you aim for the sky, you might at least get the ceiling.

“We don’t want to say June 2017 is unachievable, we’ll relax. But if we are able to roll out another six by May, then we know where we are,” the minister said.

The Chairman of the House Ad-hoc Committee, Representative Sunday Katung, also emphasised the importance of the digital switchover.

Deadline Implication

However, the Chairman of the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) and CEO, Channels Media Group, Mr John Momoh, stressed the need to place the interest of stakeholders and that of the country first.

Mr Momoh advised that Nigeria should work towards ensuring that a good switchover transition was achieved rather than emphasising deadlines.

“Again, I say that we shouldn’t be looking at deadlines. I think we should just work towards making sure that we have a very good switchover.

“When we set a deadline, we put ourselves under pressure.

“The ministry is working very well with the border states to make sure that there is no confusion in terms of interference.

“We should just be focused and see how can we transit to digital, rather than emphasise deadlines.

“Deadlines will put us in trouble,” the BON Chairman warned.

Other issues discussed at the gathering include funding and the need to have a better business model backed by a good legal framework to accommodate the transition process.

“Accommodate children on March 5”, Lai Mohammed tells broadcast organisations.

Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, has asked broadcast organisations to give children the opportunity to work with them on March 5, the international Children’s day of broadcasting.

Mohammed said this in a statement issued on Tuesday.

He called on the media to work with children on this day for national development.

“In this era of change, children’s voices can bring in a refreshing perspective to the issues of national development. Let us give every Nigerian child irrespective of status, location or disability a chance to contribute to our national development efforts,” he said.

Enshrined in articles 12 and 14 of the UN convention on the rights of the child, is the right of children to form their own views and to express their views freely through the media on matters affecting them.

The theme for this year is ‘Early childhood development, key to every child’s full development and future prosperity’.

It seeks to espouse the principles of the convention on the rights of the child irrespective of their status and situation –  the enjoyment of their right development as enshrined in the convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Child Rights Act 2003.

The international children’s day of broadcasting is a day set aside to promote the rights of the child, especially their right to participation. It serves as a platform for a synergy of effort by the media and the children themselves.

The broadcast media in Nigeria has participated in commemorating the International Children’s Day of Broadcasting since 1992.

“How can you raise only N620k from culture sector?”, Senate queries Lai Mohammed.

The senate on Tuesday queried Lai Mohammed, minister of information, culture and tourism, over the poor revenue generated from the culture and entertainment industry in 2016 and misappropriation of funds.

At a budget defence session on Tuesday, the senate committee on culture and tourism said that it was unfortunate that the ministry presented only N620,000 as total revenue generated in 2016.

Matthew Urhoghide, chairman, senate committee on culture and tourism, said that the senate was not happy with the revenue.

“Budget is not just about expenditure. No one is talking about revenue. We need revenue profile. Each time you come, only expenditure is mentioned. How can you say is N620,000.00 that was raised by your ministry from the culture sector?

“We must exhaust all the avenues to generate funds internally. We seriously frown at the low and poor IGR. We query it. You must look inward because this is not acceptable.”

Urhoghide also queried the minister for misdirecting funds budgeted for land acquisition saying that the senate budgeted N60m to acquire lands in Lagos, Adamawa and Edo states to establish cultural industries.

He said Mohammed used the money released to acquire lands in only Lagos and Adamawa states, adding that the minister reduced the states to three when the initial budget was supposed to accommodate six states.

In his defence, Mohammed said the problems of proper and full implementation of the budget were due to inadequate appropriation and delay in the release of funds, cumbersome nature of procurement process, and the challenge of partial release of appropriated amount.

He called for the placement of culture and tourism on the residual list, saying that the current structure makes it difficult for the government to regulate the sector.

“There are several challenges/constraints militating against the smooth implementation of the required programmes/projects. Some of these are inadequate appropriation; delay in the release of funds; cumbersome nature of procurement process; partial release of appropriated amount; late passage of Appropriation Act; placement of culture and tourism on the residual list, which has made it difficult to regulate the sector; lack of political will to develop the sector and absence of convention bureau to attract big-time events to Nigeria as a tourism destination,” he said.

Lai: There was ‘mindless looting’ under GEJ. We’ve recovered another $151m, N8bn

Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, says the whistle-blowing policy has started yielding results less than two months after it commenced.

He said three sources of through the help of whistleblowers have assisted the government to recover the sums of $151m and N8bn.

Mohammed said some Nigerians found it difficult to believe that there was “mindless and primitive looting of the national treasury” under the government of former President Goodluck Jonathan, but that recent revelations have proven that.

“When we told Nigerians that there was a primitive and mindless looting of the national treasury under the last administration, some people called us liars,” Mohammed said in a statement issued by Segun Adeyemi, his media aide.

“The federal government’s whistle-blower policy has started yielding fruit as it has so far led to the recovery of $151m and N8bn in looted funds.”

The minister said the recovered monies were not part of the $9.8m and £74, 0000 allegedly found in the house of Andrew Yakubu, former group managing director (GMD) of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Mohammed said the monies were recovered from “sources who gave actionable information to the office of the minister of justice and attorney-general of the federation”.

“The biggest amount of $136,676,600.51 was recovered from an account in a commercial bank, where the money was kept under an apparently fake account name, followed by N7bn and $15m from another person and N1bn from yet another,” he said.

“When we told Nigerians that there was a primitive and mindless looting of the national treasury under the last administration, some people called us liars. Well, the whistle-blower policy is barely two months old and Nigerians have started feeling its impact, seeing how a few people squirreled away public funds. It is doubtful if any economy in the world will not feel the impact of such mind-boggling looting of the treasury as was experienced in Nigeria.

“Yet whatever has been recovered so far, including the $9.2m by the EFCC, is just a tip of the iceberg.”

He appealed to Nigerians with useful information on stolen funds to continue to provide the authorities with such information, saying confidentiality would be maintained.

The minister also reminded Nigerians of the financial reward of the policy, saying “If there is a voluntary return of stolen or concealed public funds or assets on the account of the information provided, the whistleblower may be entitled to anywhere between 2.5 percent (minimum) and 5.0 percent (maximum) of the total amount recovered.”

Buhari is a victim of his own transparency – Lai Mohammed

Following the controversy surrounding the vacation of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has declared that the President was a victim of his own transparency.

Mohammed made the declaration while addressing State House Correspondents after yesterday’s Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Noting that the President while embarking on his vacation informed the National Assembly and transmitted power to his Vice, Mohammed said it was surprising that Buhari was pronounced dead by some people, less than six hours after he arrived London.

Mohammed lamented that even those who saw the President aboard the aircraft in Abuja en route London, claimed that he was flown to UK in an air ambulance.

According to the Minister, “Mr. President, like I said elsewhere, is probably a victim of his own transparency. He was going on leave, he did what the constitution said he should do, transmitted it to the National Assembly and Acting President was put in place. And he said `while I am on leave, I am going to conduct some medical tests’ which many, or all of us do without announcing it.’’

Buhari, who was expected back in the country on Sunday, following the completion of his vacation, sent a letter to the National Assembly same day extending his 10-day vacation in the UK  to enable him complete and receive test results from his doctors.

CAN replies Information Minister on ‘Islamisation’ claim.

The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has expressed disappointment with the remarks by Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, condemning religious leaders for spreading “incendiary messages” through the media.

In a statement on Tuesday, the CAN President, Samson Ayokunle, denied the claim by Mr. Mohammed that religious leaders spreading such messages were engaged in a “campaign of calumny” against the present administration.

Mr. Mohammed spoke at a town hall meeting in Ilorin, Kwara State on Monday.

“The alleged Islamisation of Nigeria under the current administration is totally false and should be perceived in its entirety as a campaign of calumny,” the minister had said.

“There is no bigger threat to the peace and unity of our country today than religion-coated incendiary messages, which are being carelessly sent out by some religious, political and opinion leaders.

“In recent times, the media has been increasingly awash with incendiary statements that seem designed to pitch the adherents of the two prominent religions in the country, Christians and Muslims, against one another. Such fallacies like the Islamisation of Nigeria, the killing of Christians by Muslims, the labelling of Nigeria as the most dangerous place for Christians in the world can only serve one purpose: trigger a religious war,” the minister said.

“Those who are making these allegations know that they are not true, but they have found in religion another tool to demonize the government of the day, divert attention from the government’s anti-corruption stance and create undue tension in the polity,” he added.

But reacting to Mr. Mohammed’s comments, Mr. Ayokunle said in an interview with PREMIUM TIMES that “never in the history of Nigeria had there been a leadership so biased as that of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration”.

“We have never had a government like this that is so religiously biased. If Nigeria is not moving towards Islamisation; why do we have to join the Islamic coalition against terrorism? Despite all that was said by Nigerians, this administration went ahead with that decision.

“The lopsided appointments; with almost all the security chiefs coming from one religion, as if members of the other religions cannot produce competent hands.

“When a preacher in the Federal Capital Territory was brutally murdered, what has become the outcome of that matter? The woman that was brutally murdered in Kano what has happened to that matter? Even the Attorney General of that state says the suspects have no case to answer. The killings in Agatu, Southern Kaduna, that all took place in Christian dominated communities; are we not privy to that?

“The handwriting is clearly there for all to see. They can try, but they cannot succeed,” said Mr. Ayokunle, who is also the President of the Nigerian Baptist Convention.

Continuing in the same vein in a statement on Tuesday by his spokesman, Adeboyo Oladeji, Mr. Ayokunle said CAN is made up of patriotic Nigerians who love the country too much to threaten its peace. He said the association only spoke out of sheer concern for what was “obvious”.

“We are disappointed but not surprised with the disparaging lies and abusive statements credited to the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in Ilorin during the Town hall meeting where he was accusing religious leaders of making alleged provocative statements that can lead to religious war.

“We want to boldly declare that Nigerian Christians love their country and they not only promote peace and unity but also always pray for her and the leadership. In the last one year, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has declared fasting and prayers for Nigeria and her leadership twice. If we are thirsty for a war, we wouldn’t have gone that far.

“Is Lai Mohammed accusing of us of telling lies: That our members are being killed, maimed and burnt by the Boko Haram terrorists in the Northeast? That our members are being killed by the Fulani herdsmen in Plateau, Benue and now Southern Kaduna states? That those responsible for these killings profess Islam as their religion? That those who killed Madam Bridget Agbahime in Kano were Muslims who were arrested but later discharged and acquitted by the court as requested by the State Attorney- General and Commissioner of Justice? That those who killed Madam Eunice Elisha Olawale while doing the morning preaching in Kubwa, Abuja, were Muslim fundamentalists who were arrested but also freed by the Police?

“Is Lai Mohammed telling us that no Christian was killed by the Fulani herdsmen who invaded Southern Kaduna, killed and maimed our members and razed down their communities recently? Is Mohammed saying the Fulani herdsmen who have been killing our members are not armed with sophisticated weapons and is it wrong for us to ask where they get the AK-47 and other weapons they are using?

“When all those killings were going on in Plateau, Benue and Southern Kaduna, was there any time Lai Mohammed or anyone in the Federal Government raised up a voice against the atrocities?, Mr. Ayokunle queried.

He described the Fulani herdsmen who attacked the various communities as “murderers”, and queried the failure of government to curtail the matter, before the killings occurred.

“If those murderous Fulani herdsmen are faceless, how come the Sultan of Sokoto is claiming that they are not Nigerians and in another instance, the Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai said they had been paid for the “wrong done to them’’? Why is it that whenever these murderers are perpetrating their atrocities, the security agencies look elsewhere until their victims decided to fight back? Is it because the security agencies are Muslim dominated? CAN says No to disparaging remarks in the name of politics. Enough of these lies by Lai Mohammed,” concluded the statement.

Allegation of Islamising Nigeria false – Lai Mohammed

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has condemned the statements by some religious leaders alleging that President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is planning to Islamise Nigeria.

In a statement by the minister’s special assistant on media and publicity, Segun Adeyemi, Mr. Mohammed said the allegations were a campaign of calumny.

Mr. Mohammed spoke at a town hall meeting in Ilorin, Kwara State. The town hall meetings across Nigeria began in April, 2016 under the title ‘Federal Government Discuss’ as a means of bridging communication gap between government and Nigerians

“The alleged Islamisation of Nigeria under the current administration is totally false and should be perceived in its entirety as a campaign of calumny,” the statement said.

“There is no bigger threat to the peace and unity of our country today than religion-coated incendiary messages, which are being carelessly sent out by some religious, political and opinion leaders.

“In recent times, the media has been increasingly awash with incendiary statements that seem designed to pitch the adherents of the two prominent religions in the country, Christians and Muslims against one another. Such fallacies like the Islamisation of Nigeria, the killing of Christians by Muslims, the labelling of Nigeria as the most dangerous place for Christians in the world can only serve one purpose: trigger a religious war”, the minister said.

The leadership of CAN had in various communication with the media accused the current administration of planning to Islamise the nation. The association blamed increased killings for alleged blasphemy and other ethno-religious killings in Northern Nigeria on the government’s inaction.

It also accused the administration of toeing the path of past Muslim leaders in its resolve to ensure that Nigeria remains a part of international Muslim organisations.

Reacting to the allegations, Mr. Mohammed noted that Nigeria has had its share of ethno-religious crisis but added that CAN and other like-minded religious leaders were aware that their claims are untrue.

“Needless to say that no nation ever survives a religious war. Those who are making these allegations know that they are not true, but they have found in religion another tool to demonize the government of the day, divert attention from the government’s anti-corruption stance and create undue tension in the polity.

“Make no mistake about it, there have been conflicts between adherents of the two major religions in certain parts of the country. To now extrapolate from that to say Nigeria is the most dangerous place for Christians in the world is a disservice to Nigeria and an overkill. What those who are pushing this negative narrative about Nigeria do not know is that if they succeed in giving Nigeria a bad name in the comity of nations, they too will not escape the consequences that will result therefrom,” said Mr. Mohammed.

He alleged that religious leaders making the “incendiary statements” were being used by political groups to undermine government.

“The secular nature of Nigeria’s Constitution makes the issue of religious dominance and impunity improbable. It is also important to note that the underlying principle of religious conflict may not be purely religious, but more often than not coloured with political connotations as vividly depicted in the case of the terrorist group, Boko Haram.

“And more often than not, conflicts between Muslims and Christians are fuelled by political motivations, ethnic differences, extremism, intolerance and terrorism’, Mr. Mohammed said.

“Let me appeal to the media to desist from providing a platform for exponents of incendiary statements, those who will latch on to religion and ethnicity to divide us, and those who have no qualms about leveraging their privileged positions to give Nigeria a bad name in the international community”.

Mr. Mohammed alleged that the propagators of the incendiary messages had also accused the military of using its equipment against the Christian population in Nigeria.

“Their foreign collaborators, including a section of the international media, have even gone as far as accusing the Nigerian military, a symbol of the country’s unity, of arming Fulani herdsmen to kill Christians, as if the army is made up of officers and men from only one religion. The Federal Government rejects this ludicrous and nonsensical accusation against the military and warns those behind it to desist forthwith,” said Mr. Mohammed.

“Let me also appeal to Christian and Muslim leaders to emulate Catholic Cardinal John Onaiyekan of Abuja and Sultan Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III of Sokoto, both of whom formed the Inter-faith Initiative for Peace to promote inter-faith dialogue – which represents an energetic and indispensable vehicle for achieving lasting peace among divergent religious groupings in the country”.

Lai: Having lost Sambisa, Boko Haram now set for media war.

Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, says Boko Haram’s new strategy is to dominate the media by propagating lies.

The minister said this in a statement issued by Segun Adeyemi, his media aide, on Tuesday.

“Following the recovery of a treasure trove of materials from the decimated Boko Haram, the federal government has called on the media and the general public to be vigilant, saying the decimated group has shifted its strategy towards dominating the media space, propagating a perverted version of Shariah law and giving the impression that it is still holding territory,” he said.

In the statement, Mohammed appealed to Nigerians and the media to ensure that they did not “unwittingly provide the terrorists with the oxygen of publicity that they desperately need”.

He said the propaganda strategy was discovered from the material left behind by the insurgents after they were routed from their stronghold in Sambisa forest.

“The materials include documents, phones and computers that contained detailed information on the Boko Haram media and propaganda strategy. An analysis of the materials revealed Boko Haram’s training in videography as well as how they sought and received training from other terrorists groups on video recording and manipulation,” he said.

“The documents, written in Arabic, also outlined the media strategy that Boko Haram commanders should employ and how the surviving members should ensure the propagation of the Boko Haram doctrine using the social media.”

The minister said “the recovered material confirmed the announcement of a new media wing called ‘Wadi Baya’ (Clear Speech) by Boko Haram in an audio released by the group on 17 January, 2017, following its routing from Sambisa”.

“As Boko Haram refocuses its resources to media war and propaganda against the Nigerian people and state, we must all unite against terrorism by denying Boko Haram our platforms to propagate its ideology. Both the media and the citizens have important roles to play in complementing our armed forces, which are combining land and air resources to completely clear the vestiges of Boko Haram,” he added.


Source: The Cable

Federal Government distances itself from arrest of Premium Times’ journalists.

The Federal Government has assured that it will not do anything to stifle press freedom, knowing that a free press is vital to the success of any democracy.


Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who said this in a statement in Abuja, however, argued that the federal government has nothing to do with the recent arrest of Mr Dapo Olorunyomi, publisher of the online newspaper Premium Times, and a reporter working for the paper, Ms Evelyn Okakwu.


Mohammed said the arrests were purely a private affair involving a citizen and a privately-owned newspaper, and such should not be construed as an attempt by the government to intimidate the press.


He said, “We have said it before and we want to re-state it: The Federal Government has no immediate or long-term plan to stifle press freedom. Even the Social Media, with its warts and all, will neither be regulated nor have its operations tampered with,”.

Camp Zairo in Sambisa Forest is like Boko Haram’s Aso Rock – Lai Mohammed

Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, says Camp Zairo is to Boko Haram what Aso Rock means to Nigeria.


Mohammed said this at the Air Force Base in Yola, Adamawa state capital, during a briefing to conclude a day and night rounds of search of the missing girls in Sambisa.


Mansur Dan-Alli, minister of defence; Obiageli Ezekwesili, convener of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group; as well as selected local and foreign journalists participated in the search mission.


Mohammed noted that the capture of the camp was very crucial to defeating members of the sect.


“Camp Zairo might occupy probably one kilometre out of 60,000 kilometres expanse of Sambisa, but it is so crucial to us in this war,” he said.


“It is like imagining that there is a war and the Villa is captured. That is the essence of camp zairo.


“It is not the extent of physical expanse but that we struck at the very heart of insurgency and it does not mean the end of the campaign in Sambisa forest.”


Mohammed said the success recorded by the military in the theatre of war was helping to negotiate release of the remaining Chibok girls in captivity.


He recalled that a recently-held meeting nearly led to success, adding that the government would not rest on its oars in ensuring the return of all the missing girls and others in captivity.


“The negotiations are still on, but unfortunately unlike the search operations, we cannot take you along to the negotiation table,” he said.


“I want to assure you that these negotiations are going on but they are very complicated and delicate and shift from time to time.”

Things Will Be Better In 2017– Lai Mohammed

The Minister for Information, Arts and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has commended Nigerians for their perseverance and understanding, urging them to look forward to better times in 2017.

Mohammed spoke to newsmen on Sunday night on the sidelines of a programme tagged “A special evening of music and camaraderie to usher in the Yuletide season”, organised by the Lagos State Government at the State House, Alausa.

“We give thanks to God that we are alive; by the grace of God, next year will be much easier.

“2016 has not been a particularly easy year even for governance because the economy has not done much as well as we thought.

“This is not because of incompetence on the part of government but because of the general global slowdown and this affected commodity prices,” Mohammed said.

According to him, despite all, the government tried its best, especially in the face of challenges with the Niger DeIta, and has more than thrice intervened and bailed out some states.

Mohammed commended Nigerians for their perseverance and understanding and urged them to continue to support the government.

The National President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mr Abdulwaheed Odushile, told newsmen that the Federal Government needed to focus more on the economy, particularly in the area of job creation.

“Government needs to improve the economy by creating jobs directly.

“It should create rooms so that people in the non- formal sector can also create jobs, especially in agriculture, tourism and other areas where they can show their skills.”

Read More: punchng

This government created 200,000 jobs in one fell swoop – Lai Mohammed.

Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, says “corrupt elements” opposed to the change agenda are making government activities obscure to give the wrong impression that work hasn’t been going on.

According to Lai, the federal government, under President Muhammadu Buhari, has done so much, including the “unprecedented” creation 200,000 jobs “in one fell swoop”.

Mohammed said this on Thursday in Abuja at the launch of the Federal Government of Nigeria Information App (FGN IAPP), designed to provide real time information from the government to Nigerians at home and abroad.

He said the corrupt had chosen to fight the government with their ill-gotten wealth, by “distorting our messages and obfuscating our activities”.

“A government that has achieved the unprecedented feat of creating 200,000 jobs in one fell swoop cannot be said to have done nothing,” he said.

“A government that has liberated every inch of our occupied territory from Boko Haram and sent the terrorists fleeing should not be portrayed as not doing anything.

“A government that is surely and steadily making our country self-sufficient in staples such as rice and embarking on a massive infrastructural renewal cannot be said to be doing nothing

“A government that is boldly tackling an economic recession that was foisted on it by years of profligacy, lack of savings and a sudden crash on oil prices deserves accolades, not vilification.”

He added that the FGN IAPP will help to keep Nigerians and non-Nigerians better informed of the activities of the federal government as well as getting the necessary feedback.

“Irrespective of where you are in the world, from today all you needed to do is to download the FGN IAPP, and you will have access to factual and real time information on the activities of the federal government of Nigeria,” he said.

Mohammed said the ‘Be Inspired’ section of the App will make it possible for any Nigerian, irrespective of status, to meet top political, business, religious and other leaders.

He added that the App also provides a feedback section that allows anyone make his or her feelings known about any government policy or programmes.

Lai: Newspaper editorials can no longer bring down a government.

Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, says gone are the days when newspapers were so powerful that their editorials could bring down a government.

Speaking at a meeting with resident information officers (RIOs) in his ministry, Mohammed acknowledged the role of social media in the dissemination of information.

He claimed that the federal government was under-reported because its information handlers were not using the right and current communication channels.

“Government is doing so much, yet  people keep saying they do not know because we are not communicating through the right channel,” he said.

“Gone were the days when the newspapers and the television stations were the major means of information dissemination. Newspapers are no longer as powerful as they used to be. Before newspaper editorial can bring down a government. Gone are those day when the Sunday Times sold half a million copies in one day.

“But today the new media is the social media and unless you are there and show a very strong presence, you are not communicating to the world.

“We need technology to inform the world on what we are doing and with the new applications every person in the world will get to know what is happening in the country real time.”

He said an information dissemination App would be launched before the end of the month, and that it would bridge the gap by using the social media to “tell the world what the government is doing”.

He urged the RIOs to rise up to the challenge, adding that they would be the one to feed the App with stories.

He said government would organise workshops for the purpose, starting with 25 to 30 key ministries and parastatal agencies before others are brought in.

Nigeria commences process to make visa issuance easier

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, on Tuesday in Abuja reiterated call for a change in the nation’s visa administration to encourage tourists and investors.

The minister made the call when he received Jim Flannery, an international advisor to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, UNTWO.

The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports that the advisor was sent by UNWTO to assist in the review of Nigeria Tourism Master Plan.

The minister stressed that a new regime that allowed for easy access to visa for tourists and investors at point of entry was required for the tourism sector to grow.

He said he was glad that government had set up a committee on the ease of doing business which would look into it.

The minister also underscored the need for the nation to do away with bureaucracy and encourage full participation of the private sector in growing the tourism industry.

“We must begin to understand that tourism is the new oil that we have failed to discover and exploit.

“It is shocking that Nigeria with a population of about 170 million people and land mass of about one million sq km has only two world heritage sites.

“Whereas, Italy with population of about 50 million people has 51 world heritage sites.

“What that means is that people will not come to our country unless they see what they can be attracted to.

“That explains why France attracted 120 million tourists last year, while the whole of Africa attracted less than 50 million and why three out of five jobs in Italy, three are from the creative industry.

“This figure will show you the importance of tourism and Nigeria is the new tourists destination and we really need to work together to harness the potential in the industry,” he said.

The minister said he was glad to receive the UNWTO delegate whose coming was a fall out of his trip to the headquarters of the world tourism body in Madrid, Spain in July.

The minister recalled that during the visit, the UNWTO agreed to send an expert to help in the review of tourism master plan and to partner in revising the Presidential Council on Tourism.

He said the organisation also promised to assist in organising international conference with the theme; “Tourism as a Tool for Peace’’ in Maiduguri and train women on capacity building in tourism.

The minister urged members of the review committee to cooperate and work with Flanker for a successful review of the master plan.

He said in the course of his stay, Mr. Flannery would meet with major donors like World Bank and UNDP to exploit how they could assist the country in implementing the master plan.

Earlier, Mr. Flannery said the review of the master plan drafted about 10 years ago would not be a total jettison of the existing one.

“We are not here to write a new master plan, because we have a very expansive document before us that has never been implemented.

“This time, our attitude will be let us break it down to smaller steps and identify what can be done quickly to open new products and create  new markets.’’

He said that unlike the manufacturing industry, tourism does not need special technical knowhow and huge investment to start.

He noted that tourism was a very viable industry that most countries were now realising and benefitting from and Nigeria would not regret the action taken to reposition the sector.

Nigeria vows to address discriminatory visa, banking polices by UAE government

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has assured that the Federal Government would address obnoxious policies on visa and banking against Nigerians in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The Minister gave the assurance in Abu Dhabi when he met with the officials of the Nigeria Embassy in UAE, led by the Charge d’ Affaires, Nura Rimi.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting was on the sideline of the International Conference for the Safeguarding of Cultural Heritage in Conflict Areas, attended by the minister in the UAE capital.

NAN reports that the minister represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the conference.

Mr. Mohammed said a situation where many Nigerians with genuine mission to the UAE were given only two weeks visa into the country was not acceptable.

The minister expressed shock to hear that Nigerians studying in the country were not allowed to open bank accounts, making it difficult to send money to them by their parents.

He assured that he would take the matter up with appropriate authorities at home and ensure something was done to address the challenges.

“I think these are quite serious issues especially when Nigeria gives them months when they apply for visa.

“I can assure you that the government will take it up.

“On the denial to open accounts, of course you will always have good people and bad people in every society, but unfortunately, it is that bad people that always attract the attention of the authorities.

“We will not want to be judged by these bad people and I think again it is a matter that the government has to immediately take up,” he said.

The minister assured the embassy staff that the concern raised on non-availability of current information on Nigeria in missions worldwide was being addressed.

The hosts had said that most time they relied on inaccurate information from internet, particularly when people come to seek information on investment potentials in Nigeria from the embassy.

The minister said that “on Dec. 15, the ministry will launch an information apps which is going to provide real time information to Nigerians home and abroad on any issue.”

He said the app is a collaboration between the ministry and the private sector and when launched it would be able to solve the challenge in all missions across the globe.

“We are also contemplating launching a special Foreign Service news delivery system where classified information, particularly on investment will be disseminated,” he said.

Reacting to Emirates Airline suspension of flight to Abuja and cutting down on frequency of flights to Lagos, the minister said the issue was being addressed

“It is not because the route is not viable; it is because they have been unable to repatriate their funds.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria and the government are working very hard to ensure that very soon it is reversed,’’ he said.
The minister disclosed that government recently approved the signing of Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) with the UAE and Singapore which would forestall future occurrence of such development.

Mohammed expressed delight that the UAE was willing to assist in the challenge of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) when approached.

He seized the opportunity to brief his hosts on what the government was doing to address the challenge of IDPs.

“Today, a minister is the coordinating officer between the various international organisations and government on IDPs.

“For once, the humanitarian organisations are realising the magnitude of the crisis in the North East, with an understanding that it is a crisis that involve over 20 million people from about seven nations around the Lake Chad Basin.

“The FAO, UNICEF, UNHR, International Organisation for Migration and others are coming together to our aid.

“What is interesting is that they said they have come because of the commitment the country has demonstrated to the crisis,” he said.

Earlier, the envoy had told the minister that in spite of all challenges, the mission had been able to carry out its assigned responsibilities diligently and received the recognition and accolade from the host country.

“Recently, we were awarded a certificate of excellence by the government of UAE.

“Nigeria embassy in Abu Dhabi is one of the three embassies that received the award of excellence and recognition.

“That goes to say that out of paucity of fund and other pressing challenged, we are still committed and dedicated to carrying out our responsibilities,” he said.

Rimi added that they were in total support of government’s efforts back home and ready to carry out any responsibility that will assist in the fulfilment of the change agenda.

He said that Nigerian living outside the shore of the county are also experiencing the same economic challenges people are facing back home

He said it is a supreme sacrifice that all have to make for better tomorrow.

Rimi said there is a sizeable number of Nigerians in the UAE particularly in Abu Dhabi.

“We have professionals in the state owned oil companies, renewable energy, tourism industry and we have university professors and other Nigerians in various institutions of learning.

We also have many business men in Dubai and a large concentration of Nigerian students in this country,” he said.

He appealed to government officials coming to the country for official duty to always notify the embassy ahead of their visit.

Lai: Corrupt people doing everything to spoil Buhari’s good work

Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, says “corrupt elements are doing everything possible to obfuscate the good work of the present administration, as a response to the government’s determined fight against corruption”.

According to a statement by Segun Adeyemi, his media aide, on Monday, the minister said this while addressing the staff of the Nigerian embassy in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

“As the government fights corruption, corruption is also fighting back, using even unsuspecting sources,” he said. “This is the biggest challenge facing the administration at the moment.”

However, he said that the administration was determined and focused in its efforts to root out corruption in the country.

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

He also said the ministry was considering setting up a foreign service information system as part of plans to furnish the missions with much-needed information, especially for prospective investors and tourists.

The minister told the embassy staff that apart from using the traditional means of communicating with the people, the administration had resorted to holding town hall meetings in order to better inform Nigerians of the activities of government, as well as to get the necessary feedback on government’s programmes and policies.

He added that the town hall meetings, which have been held in five states and Abuja so far, would be held on a sectoral basis from next year, in order to provide more information to Nigerians on key sectors, including agriculture, infrastructural development and the economy.

Mohammed also announced that efforts were being made to revitalise the National Orientation Agency (NOA), which he said is the closest to the grassroots, with a view to strengthening to be able to communicate the programmes and policies of the administration 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.

The minister, who was in Abu Dhabi to attend the International Conference on the Safeguarding of Cultural Heritage in Conflict Areas, said the administration had 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 said the government had 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 would see Nigeria become self sufficient in rice and wheat in the shortest time possible.

On the recession, Mohammed 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.”

BREAKING: Former minister Bolaji Abduallhi emerges new APC spokesperson

A former Minister of Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi, has been picked as the new spokesperson of Nigeria’s governing All Progressives Congress, APC.


Mr. Abdullahi succeeds Lai Mohammed who was appointed Minister of Information by President Muhammadu Buhari.


Both are from Kwara State.


Mr. Abdullahi was nominated at a meeting of the North Central zone of the APC, which held at Chelsea Hotel, Abuja, on Thursday.


Details shortly…

APC set to appoint a new spokesperson, Bolaji Abdullahi considered.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) is set to name a new spokesman for the party on Thursday.


According to the PUNCH, former Minister of Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi, is being tipped for the role.


Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who is also from Kwara as Abdullahi, resigned from the post to take up appointment as Minister of Information and National Orientation more than a year ago.

The embattled Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party, Timi Frank, tried but failed to act in that capacity.


He has now taken the party to court, after his suspension was announced.


Abdullahi is expected to be confirmed as the new spokesman, at a mini-convention at the New Chelsea Hotel in Abuja at 11am.

Information Minister charges Nigerian broadcast stations to respect COSON copyright royalty agreement

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has called on all broadcasting stations operating in Nigeria to honour the copyright royalty agreement they entered into with Copyright Society of Nigeria through the Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria and Independent Broadcasting Association of Nigeria in 2014.

The Minister made the call recently at the headquarters of his ministry in Abuja when he met with the COSON delegation, which was led by the Chairman, Tony Okoroji.

Also present at the meeting were the heads of all Federal Government-owned broadcasting agencies including the Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission Ishaq Modibbo Kawu; the Director-General of Nigerian Television Authority; Yakubu Mohammed, and the Director-General of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, Mansur Liman. All Senior Assistants of the minister were also in attendance.

In his opening remark, the minister reiterated the need for a nationwide re-orientation as well as the need to respect copyright laws. Speaking further, he added that the Nigerian creative industries have the potentials to form the bedrock of a new Nigerian economy.

Addressing the minister, Mr. Okoroji said that his delegation was not in Abuja for photo opportunities with government officials but to seriously engage the government on matters that concern the Nigerian creative industries.

The COSON Chairman made several specific requests, which he said would produce speedy results and be of immense benefit to the nation. The requests include the following:

• The Federal Government should ensure the full implementation of the Private Copy Levy scheme without any further delay.

• The Federal Government should make it very clear to all telecommunications companies operating in Nigeria that henceforth, there will be zero tolerance for the infringement of the Intellectual Property rights of Nigerian citizens whose works are deployed by these companies.

• All Federal and State owned broadcasting stations and other government institutions must respect the intellectual property rights of citizens, as there is no provision under the law that exempts them from the infringement of copyright with respect to the content broadcast or deployed by them.

• The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) should be requested as a matter of urgency to take necessary steps to begin the take down of the several pirate websites bastardizing and frittering away Nigerian Intellectual Property on the Internet.

• The Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ought to be requested to act swiftly to ensure that the brazen and massive piracy of Nigerian music, movies and literature across our continent is no longer tolerated.

• The Nigerian Copyright Commission should be given new vigour and empowered to pivot towards the effective implementation of anti-piracy measures in the digital environment as the nature of piracy has changed.

• The National Assembly should be made to act with dispatch to ensure the promulgation into law of the new Copyright Bill, which contains several provisions dealing with emerging issues and the infringement of copyright in the digital era.

• Necessary action should be taken to get the National Endowment Fund for the Arts up and running so that there are resources to take care of funding for creative projects and the welfare of creative people who have fallen into hard times.

It was agreed at the meeting that a working group comprising officials of the ministry, COSON, and government agencies would be urgently set up to address the issues raised at the meeting.

The COSON delegation to the Minister included Afro juju star, Shina Peters; Rub-a-dub maestro, Ras Kimono; Gospel music star, Kenny Saint Best, and Queen of love, Azeezat Allen.

Also in the delegation were COSON General Manager, Chinedu Chukwuji and COSON Public Affairs Consultant, Mrs. Lucy Ajayi.

How I tackled employment racketeers – Lai Mohammed

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has explained how he addressed the challenge of employment racketeers in his ministry and agencies.

Addressing members of Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism on oversight to his ministry on Thursday in Abuja, the minister said the racketeers swindled many unsuspected job seekers, promising to give them phantom jobs.

“When I came in, we were able to uncover a number of cartels engaging in unlawful employment.

“They gave bank account details which their victims paid huge sum of money into and after the payment they issued them with letters of employment.

“They even camped some of them in hotels for capturing into Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS)

“In fact, in a particular organisation, a level 17 Officer was involved in this racketeering, but unfortunately he is late now.

“When we discovered this, we swung into action to get to the bottom of this and get some of them arrested.

“We are still on it and even some of them have taken us to court,’’ he said.

Mr. Mohammed said the ministry was committed to fighting the challenge of ghost workers and assured of bringing the perpetrators to book.

He said he had directed all the agencies under the ministry to submit their nominal rolls and anyone that failed to do so would have itself to blame for non-payment of its workers’ salaries from January 2017.

The minister told the lawmakers that there was the need to revisit and review the concept of budgeting on overhead cost particularly in certain ministries like Information and Culture.

“In my ministry, travel and visits cannot be seen as recurrent, they are capital for me. It is when I travel that I am able to bring back dividends to this country.

“I travelled to Spain sometimes in July, that single trip offered the country the right to bid for the hosting of the UN World Tourism Organisation for Africa for 2018.

“The trip earned us the support of United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNTWO) to send three technical teams to assist the country in its tourism development.

“It was also during that trip that the UNTWO agreed to equip six zonal centres for women engaging in tourism in the country.

“For us in Culture and Tourism, visiting tourism sites with the intention of making them tourists attraction should not be seen as just simple recurrent expenditure.

“This is where we have the challenge. Many times we want to engage in this critical assignment to the ministry, we are told that the vote head for passage and travels have been exhausted,’’ he said.

The minister solicited the support of the lawmakers on the passage of two Bills which he said would be sent to the National Assembly soon.

He said the two Bill were for the establishment of National Endowment for the Arts and Motion Picture Council of Nigeria (MOPICON) respectively.

The Minister told the committee that the late release of the 2016 budget, the burdensome procurement processes and some legal issues could not allow the ministry to attain optimal performance in the budget implementation.

He also disclosed that the Lagos State Government has acceded to the Ministry’s request to help redesign and modernize the National Museum in Lagos into world-class historical hub and tourist site.

Chairman of the Committee, Mathew Urhoghide, said the oversight visit was to monitor the performance of the 2016 budget and identify areas of challenges, which will form the basis of support for the 2017 budget.

Mr. Urhoghide said the National Assembly would soon incorporate Tourism in the nomenclature of the Ministry because of the huge importance of the sector to the nation’s economy.

FG shuns N144bn satellite, shops for two new ones.

With over N144 billion ($362 million) spent on its building and more on the construction of ground station infrastructure, the country’s communications satellite is still idle in the ongoing switchover from analogue to Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) broadcasting.

The reason: there is no backup to switch to, if the satellite, for any reason, packs up, prompting a warning by experts that the entire DDT broadcasting could hit the rocks in the event of a system failure.

Information and Culture Minister, Lai Mohammed, was, however, quoted recently as saying: “The process of digitalisation is unstoppable and irreversible; it’s not a matter of choice. If we do not follow the world to digitalise and meet the June 2017 target, it means our telephones, televisions and radios would not be free from interference.”

Mohammed said, “When the White Paper on utilisation came out, the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), the digital team set up by government, paid a visit to Nigeria Communication Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT) and explained to them how ready they were to patronise them. But unfortunately, as we speak today, NIGCOMSAT has no redundancy. In other words, they have no backup. If we sign with them and for any reason the satellite goes down, it means we cannot transmit.”

He stated, however, that as soon as NIGCOMSAT scaled the hurdle, the Federal Government would have no choice but resort to the main local player.

Mohammed’s position corroborates that of his Communications counterpart, Adebayo Shittu. At the end of the National Council on Communication Technology (NCCT) in Kaduna, last week, Shittu highlighted the fears of investors and users about losing data to an unreliable satellite.

He disclosed government’s plans to procure two backups for NIGCOMSAT at the cost of $550 million.

“Once that is done, we can beat our chest and say, ‘nobody should take Nigerian money outside for the purpose of storing data’. I am confident that with the Federal Government’s approval, we will get what we want.”

Lai Mohammed says arrest of judges meant to fight corruption, not Judiciary.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has stated that there was nothing unusual about stepping on sensitive toes in the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration’s current fight against corruption.

He stated this on Wednesday while interacting with State House correspondents at the end of a meeting of the Federal Executive Council presided over by President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Mohammed spoke in reaction to the outrage that has greeted the recent arrests of judges and raids on their homes by operatives of the Department of State Services, DSS.

He insisted that the arrests of the judges were carried out within the ambit of the law since they do not have immunity against investigation and prosecution.

The minister, who called on Nigerians to separate emotions from facts, maintained that the fight against corruption should not be mistaken for a fight against the judiciary.

He argued that the fact that about 11 of the ministers in Buhari’s cabinet are lawyers, about five of which are Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SAN, showed that Buhari has a lot of respect for the judiciary.

Mohammed added that the fact that the President took the cases of his three failed attempts to become the President before the judiciary is a pointer to his respect for that arm of government.

His words, “Do not confuse the fight against corruption as a fight against judiciary. What the government is concerned and passionate about is to fight corruption.

“In the process of fighting corruption, it is not unusual that you step on some very sensitive toes but the question to ask and I think these has been adequately answered by the Attorney-General is that let’s remove emotion from facts.

“One, do judges have immunity? The answer is no. Can judges be arrested? The answer is yes. Have judges that are serving be arrested in Nigeria? The answer is yes. Justice Okoli had been arrested and tried.

“Now, the next question to ask is what is the proper procedure for arresting anybody including judges. There must be properly executing search warrant. Was such presented? The answer again is yes.

“People have tried to muddle the facts about when do you search the person’s house. The truth of the matter is that under the new criminal justice law, you can search anybody, anywhere, anytime.

“Again they have tried to muddle issues by trying to say that the NJC is the only authority that can attend to complaints and discipline. The answer once again is no.

“When a judge is accused of professional misconduct is quite different from what is happening now. If you suspect anybody including Governors who have immunity, they are still subject to investigations. So I want to make it clear, this government has the highest respect for judiciary and two we are not in any way trying to ridicule the judiciary.

“We are not painting the whole of the judges with the same brush but we also have a duty to fight corruption at whatever level and in doing so, we will do so within the ambit of the law.

Minister Denies Spending N3.4bn On “Change Begins With Me” Campaign

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has demanded a retraction of libelous publications by the Daily Independent newspaper, Omo Bazuaye and Akin Fadeyi over “Change Begins With Me” campaign.

The minister made the demand in letters written to the newspaper, Bazuaye and Fadeyi by Falana & Falana’s Chamber, a law firm of a renown civil right activist and lawyer, Femi Falana.

The letters dated Sept. 19 and signed by a lawyer Oludare Falana, was made available to newsmen in Lagos on Sunday.

The first letter addressed to the Executive Editor of newspaper alleged that the libelous statement was published in the Sept. 15 edition of the paper.
The law firm stated in the letter that the newspaper claimed in its publication that,”Change Begins With Me Gulps N3.4 billion” and that the concept of the campaign was stolen by the minister.

“Having damaged our client’s hard earned reputation by your reckless action, we have his instruction to demand a retraction of your libelous publication within seven days of the receipt of this letter.

“Take notice that if you fail or refuse to accede to our client’s demand, we have his instruction to sue you with a view to restoring his reputation which your reckless publication has damaged,” Falana said.

In a joint letter addressed to Bazuaye and Fadeyi, the law firm said that the duo circulated in some online media that the concept of the Change Begins With Me campaign was stolen from them by the minister.

The law firm similarly demanded a retraction of the libelous publication within seven days of receipt of the letter or they face legal action.

FG Begins Shortlisting Candidates For 500,000 Jobs– Lai Mohammed

The Federal Government has commenced shortlisting candidates for the 500,000 jobs it promised.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed this on Tuesday, in Abuja when a delegation of the National Council for Women’s Societies (NCWS) paid him a courtesy visit in his office.

Mohammed said that applications were being received and government had started processing them for the recruitment.

“The process for the recruitment has started. About 1.2 million people applied and they classified them into categories including agriculture support officers, teachers, technical officers and so on,’’ he said.

The minister also said that the payment of N5,000 conditional cash transfer promised by the government would begin before the end of the month.

He said the Minister of Finance, Dr Kemi Adeosun had earlier announced this. Mohammed reiterated the commitment of the government to improving the well-being and standard of living of the citizens.

“We are very concerned about the welfare of Nigerians and we are not sleeping; we are working day and night to ensure that the country retraces its step.

“Many of our critics have been unfair to us because many of them know that we did not invent the problems we are facing today. “ This is time to join hands together to support the government to move the nation forward,’’ he said.

Read More:


Information Minister, Lai Mohammed Gives Update On Chibok Girls Swap

Lai Mohammed, minister of information, Friday, provided an update on the Chibok girls.


His words:”Good afternoon, gentlemen of the press.


Members of the public may recall that when the present administration came on board, Mr. President pledged to Nigerians to ensure the security of lives and property of every Nigerian, provide employment for the nation’s teeming youths and fight corruption. Since that time, the security agencies have been saddled with the responsibility of dealing with the threat of terrorism which has ravaged most parts of the Northern region.


You will also recall that from the physical destruction of communities and strategic institutions, the terrorist elements also engaged in abduction of women and children in the affected parts. Most painful was the abduction of the School girls in Chibok at the twilight of the past administration in 2014. When Mr. President assumed leadership of this country, he immediately directed security agencies to urgently fashion out strategies to trace, locate and ensure the safe and successful release of the Chibok girls. This was the mandate given to security agencies.


Gentlemen, it was consequent upon this directive that the security agencies, comprising of the Nigerian Army, Air Force, Navy, Police and the DSS, commenced action in June 2015. To this effect also, the DSS established a special tactical unit to review the gamut of actions so far carried out to secure the release of the Chibok girls, establish why the action has recorded no success as it were and to present a roadmap for possible success.


In this process, the DSS and the other security agencies observed the following:


Many persons or groups posing as negotiators actually had no veritable intelligence nor the reach to facilitate the release of the Chibok girls;


The efforts were clouded by persons with very partisan interests and whose main objective was solely to score cheap political points. It was obvious their approach had no relevance to the release of the girls;


Some informants or persons volunteering to be negotiators or facilitators  saw and treated the girls’ fate and indeed the situation as a conduit to enrich themselves, thus making the whole thing  a pecuniary venture; and


As a result of the conflicting and partisan interests, issues were muddled up to the extent that reasonable and fruitful leads either failed or simply came too late for any useful action.


It was therefore found that in the midst of these strong competing interests and unnecessary rivalries, nothing was achieved before the 2015 handover date. It was based on these that the security agencies set out to work for the release of the girls.


First, there was the need to identify those with relevant intelligence on the groups holding the girls, as well as establish sources of contact in touch with the group. This exercise was found not to be an easy task. On those holding the Chibok girls, there was also a high level of mistrust, as they too found many approaches or groups claiming to be in touch with them as false or unreliable.


In this new bid, many offers ranging from credible, not credible to outright off-mark information came to the Government. Some international bodies and countries also provided leads. It was out of this that relevant security agencies were able to strike a chord. By the third week of July 2015, a contact group was in touch with credible assets who had the reach, and who attested to the fact that some of the Chibok girls were alive. Mr. President was then briefed of these assets and intelligence and he gave his assent for further negotiations on the Chibok girls.


Precisely on 17th July, 2015, the DSS opened negotiations process with the group holding the Chibok girls. However, in return for the release of some of these girls, the group also made some demands. These included the release of some of their fighters arrested including some involved in major terrorist actions, resulting in several fatalities, and others who were experts in manufacture of locally assembled explosives. This was difficult to accept, but appropriate security agencies had to again inform Mr. President of these demands, and its viewed implications. Again Mr. President gave his assent believing that the overall release of these girls remains paramount and sacrosanct.


Meanwhile, following the above development, Government and the security agencies had sufficient leverage to work out the modalities of the swap. These included creating the safe haven, or necessary place of swap and working out the logistic details. Based on this, the DSS availed other critical sister agencies of this new situation. Immediately, the Nigerian Army and the Air Force sent some specialists to commence a detailed arrangement for the swap. This was during the last week of July 2015 and 1st week of August 2015. The officers representing the various agencies worked out the logistic details, such as the number of persons to be swapped i.e. number of girls and detainees to be exchanged, the vehicles and aircraft, as well as safeguards, i.e. safety of the persons, including the location of the swap.


When it was finally agreed by all parties, Mr. President was again informed that the preparations were concluded, and the  first step for the swap would commence on 1st August, 2015. Mr. President robustly gave his approval.


On 4th August, 2015, the persons who were to be part of the swap arrangements and all others involved in the operation were transported to Maiduguri, Borno State. This team, with the lead facilitator, continued the contact with the group holding the Chibok girls. The Service was able to further prove to the group its sincerity, as it established communication contact between it and its detained members. All things were in place for the swap which was mutually agreed. Expectations were high. Unfortunately, after more than two (2) weeks of negotiation and bargains, the group, just at the dying moments, issued new set of demands, never bargained for or discussed by the group before the movement to Maiduguri. All this while, the security agencies waited patiently. This development stalled what would have been the first release process of the Chibok girls.


It may be important to note that in spite of this setback, the government and the security agencies have not relented in the bid to ensure that the Chibok girls are released safely. By the month of November, precisely 13th November, 2015, another fresh negotiation process with the group was initiated. This time, there was the need to discuss a fresh component in other to avoid issues that had stalled the former arrangement. There were however some problems that many may not discern, but should be expected in this kind of situation. Some critical persons within the group who played such vital role in August, 2015 were discovered to be dead during combat action or as a result of the emerging rift amongst members of the group then. These two factors delayed the process. In spite of these, negotiation continued on new modalities.


By 30th November, 2015 it was becoming glaring that the division amongst the group was more profound. This affected the swap process. By 10th December, 2015, another negotiation process was in place, but this failed to achieve results because of the varying demands by the group.


Gentlemen of the press, the security agencies since the beginning of 2016 have not only remained committed  but have also taken the lead to resolve the Chibok girls’ issue. In spite of the current division amongst members of the terrorist group, which has seriously affected efforts to release the girls, renewed efforts have commenced using our trusted assets and facilitators. However, this job requires diligence and ability to deal with a group that can easily change its demands without notice.


Officers and men have sacrificed their time and energy, and some have already paid the supreme price since the abduction of the Chibok girls, fighting for the safe release of the girls. Many friendly countries and organizations have equally been very forthcoming in providing their human and technological resources to assist in the process. They are still doing so. We cannot as a nation ignore these sacrifices.


The Government and its security agencies remain committed to ensuring that the Chibok girls are safely released in fulfillment of the Presidential mandate. Let me emphasise that Government appreciates the resilience of Nigerians in the fight against insurgency and terrorism, and will continue to call on fellow Nigerians to hold that much is ahead and therefore support Mr. President’s resolve on this matter. I cannot end this without appealing to the parents and relatives of the Chibok girls. We are with you; we feel your pains and shall not relent until we succeed in bringing home our girls and every other citizen abducted by the group. It is important to appeal to all those who have shown concern in resolving this matter to continue to trust the efforts of Government to deal with the situation.


Thank you.”

Lai Mohammed Slams PDP in New Statement, Says Opposition Party is A Shameless Irritant

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has slammed the PDP for once again asking President Buhari to resign, calling the former ruling party a shameless irritant which is bent on distracting the government from its rescue mission and returning the country to ”Egypt”.

”We are on a rescue mission to resuscitate Nigeria after the PDP left it in a coma, and the noise from the same PDP seems designed to sabotage the rescue efforts. But we are not deterred,” Lai Mohammed said in a statement released today via his Special Adviser, Segun Adeyemi

According to Lai Mohammed, if the PDP had understood the meaning of shame, it would never have dared to even make a single comment on the same economy that it did everything to kill. ”While the PDP was emasculating Nigeria on all fronts, including social, economic and political, the rapacious party was deceiving Nigerians by giving them the illusion of growth and prosperity.

Instead of showing remorse and rebuilding itself to a strong opposition party, the PDP has continued to blame the successor Buhari Administration which is left to pack their mess. PDP undertakers have continued to engage in a blame game, when they should be hiding from the shame they brought upon themselves and the nation,” he said.

Mohammed said what the PDP has consistently put up as a vibrant economy under its watch was nothing but a bubble that was buoyed by massive corruption and chronic incompetence, an economy in which someone without any known means of earned livelihood would boast of $31.5 million! ”They keep saying we should stop talking of the past, yet the past will not stop rearing its head.

They keep saying we should no longer refer to the past, but how can we forget so soon that our foreign exchange reserves plummeted from $62bn in 2008 to $30bn by 2015, at a time when oil prices were at a historic high, reaching a level of $114 per barrel in 2014.

By comparison, Indonesia, another oil producing economy with a high population, increased its reserves from $60 billion in 2008 to $120 billion in 2015. The candid truth is that we failed under the successive PDP administrations to save for the rainy day, and we need to constantly remind ourselves of that so that we won’t repeat the mistake.

Take the excess crude account which fell from about $9bn in 2007 to about $2bn in 2015. The argument that it was the State Governors that depleted the account does not hold water since there were Governors in place when the account was being built up. Worse still is the fact that up to $14bn in revenues from Nigerian LNG remains unaccounted for and indeed until the Buhari Administration came to office, State Governments never got any allocations from this source of funds which properly belongs to the Federation Account. The naked fact on the revenue front is that there was just a failure of leadership.

This was compounded by the non-transparent uses of funds. We are all witnesses to the sacking of a Central Bank Governor because he raised an alarm about $20 billion that had gone missing. We are indeed still trying to recover huge sums looted from the national treasury under the PDP’s watch, with $15 billion stolen from the defence sector alone.

Perhaps most painful is that because of the way funds (about $322m) returned from Switzerland were mishandled, we now have to accept conditionalities before our stolen assets are even returned to us,” he said. Mohammed said one of the achievements that the PDP has been touting is that it reduced the nation’s national debt. ”However, at the time that we were earning such large revenues from oil, we only managed to double our external debt from $5.6 billion to $10.7 billion between 2011 and 2015.

The case of domestic debt was even worse, almost tripling from N888 billion to N2.1 trillion in the same period. Even these figures mask the extent of unpaid obligations to contractors and the huge plethora of uncompleted projects on which money continued to be spent without visible results. Payments to contractors stopped several years ago while not a single dollar was contributed to the Joint Venture activities.

Over N4.5 trillion was spent on fuel subsidy in just two years under the PDP! Despite a recent oil boom, Nigerians are indeed all victims of the dilapidated and decrepit infrastructure. The economy that the Buhari Administration inherited was certainly in dire straits, if the huge amount of salary arrears that were being owed at various tiers of government is anything to go by. If, after earning so much resources and increasing the total debt stock, our governments were not able to meet salary obligations, sometimes for up to seven months, then something was definitely wrong somewhere and if this is not evidence of a collapsing economy, one wonders what it is.

Indeed, it was not so long ago that the fuel subsidy regime almost bankrupted the country. Through credibility and commitment to good governance, the current administration has managed to save up to N1.4 trillion that would have been spent on subsidies for PMS. Moreover, the daily demand for PMS has halved from 1600 trucks a day to 850 trucks a day.

If we could achieve such savings, then clearly the petrol sector which was and remains a huge source of foreign exchange demand was not being well managed. It is also important to point out that the poor security situation in the North East has had ripple effects on the economy.

Apart from the dislocation of daily lives, there was extensive loss of agricultural production arising from the fact that our citizens in that zone could not go to their farms not to talk of planting and harvesting produce. Yet, in just a space of about 15 months, the Buhari Administration has liberated this region from the clutches of Boko Haram, which is now left to release meaningless videos when it could no longer carry out spectacular attacks,” he said.

He added that the government will continue to welcome constructive criticism, it had nothing to learn from a party that was in charge of the nation’s affairs at a time of plenty, but ended up frittering away the commonwealth, looting the nation blind and setting the stage for today economic crisis, which the Buhari Administration is working tirelessly to put an end to.

PDP’s Call For Buhari’s Resignation A Big Joke- Lai Mohammed

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, says the call for resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the economy is “preposterous”.

The minister said this on Friday in Abuja at a forum with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

Mr. Mohammed said “it is very painful in a situation where the armed robber is now the one sympathising with the victim.

“I read in the dailies that the PDP said that the president must resign because of the economy.

“While we are not going to indulge in blame game, I think we should also be honest enough to admit that we will not have been where we are today if they had done what they ought to do.

“For the party to ask the president to resign is just a big joke.”

The minister said though the government was not interested in blame game, it was important to set the records straight.

He said that “agree that Nigeria is not the only country hit by the recession and crash in price of crude, but other countries made savings.

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Lai Mohammed Promises To Engage Artistes

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Monday said that the ministry would engage indigenous artists in promoting the nation’s culture and creativity.

The minister said this during a meeting he had with representatives of the Artistes’ Village within the National Theatre complex in Lagos.

He said that everything about life revolves around creativity and that the village, being a home of culture and creativity, could not be neglected.

“The importance of culture and welfare of artistes has been in the forefront of the ministry.

“That is why I had to pay four visits to the village in seven months to brainstorm with stakeholders there and chart the way forward for the sector.

“The ministry is very passionate about the arts industry because it is important to change the old perception of being a fall-back for unserious persons.

“The artistes should not be seen as social misfits, “ he said.

The minister promised to tackle the lingering crises among the artistes without prejudice or bias, a situation he said he inherited from past administrations.

“We will see how we can fast track this settlement; we will find something positive to engage artistes from the artistes’ village here and outside this settlement,’’ he said.

He also promised to facilitate effective communication between the ministry and the stakeholders in the artistes’ village to guard against rumour peddling.

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The Change We Promised Nigerians Is Already Manifesting – Lai Mohammed

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has said the change promised Nigerians by is now manifesting itself. Speaking in Enugu at a town hall meeting for the South East organised by the ministry on Monday, the minister said

“Many have said they are yet to see the change we promised. Many more have called the promise a ruse,”“In fact, they are now mocking us. But we remain undaunted because we know that the change we promised is real. “In fact, the change we promised is already here, and it is manifesting all around us,’’ he said.“ Before now, public officials simply opened the public till, took as much money as they wanted and walked away without consequences.

 “That explains why funds allocated to the military to fight Boko Haram ended up in the piggy banks of many unscrupulous Nigerians. “Today, all those who looted the public treasury are being made to answer for their actions, as impunity gives way to accountability. “Many have offered to return their loots, and many more are facing charges,”

No Alternative To Buhari’s Current Economic Policy- Lai Mohammed

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has said that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is on the right track and there is no alternative to what it is doing.

The minister stated this at a meeting with the members of staff of the Nigerian Embassy in Madrid, Spain.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting was during the minister’s two-day official visit to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

“I believe that we are on the right track, there will be some pains, but there is no alternative to what we are doing,’’ he said.

Mr. Mohammed said the administration had fulfilled its campaign promises to address insecurity, fix the economy and fight corruption.

In the area of security, the minister said that when Mr. Buhari came on board, 14 of the 20 Local Government Areas of Borno, four in Adamawa and three in Yobe were under the sovereign authority of Boko Haram.

He said that with proactive measures and soft diplomacy with neighbouring African countries, the U.S., France and the G-8 had helped the country to “decisively deal with Book Haram’’.

“Today, all the major highways leading to Maiduguri are opened and about two months ago, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) played a league match in Maiduguri stadium,’’ he said.

 On the renewed agitations in the Niger-Delta region and parts of the South-East, the minister reassured that the government would not marginalise any part of the country, and assured that economic development would go round to everyone.

According to the minister, the present administration is implementing fiscal discipline and other measures to address the messed up economy it inherited from its predecessors.

He said with the temporarily painful measures, the government would turn around the adversity to gains and ensure that never again would the nation run a corrupt, clueless and an oil-dependent economy.

Credit: PremiumTimes

Why Buhari Did Not Release Details Of Stolen Asset Recovered From Corrupt Officials– Lai Mohammed

President Muhammadu Buhari did not release details of looted asset, recovered from corrupt persons, due to “legal reasons”, an official has said.

The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, disclosed this on Sunday evening, hours after Mr. Buhari’s Democracy Day broadcast.

“Yes, he initially said so (that he’ll give specific details about recovered loot), but he was advised against doing so for legal reasons,” the Cable Newspapers quoted Mr. Mohammed as saying during an interview on Channels Television.

Mr. Buhari had on May 14 in London promised to provide specific details of stolen asset by former public officials.

“So far, what has come out, what has been recovered in whatever currency from each ministries, departments and individuals, I intend on the 29th to speak on this because all Nigerians are getting from the mass media because of the number of people arrested either by the EFCC, DSS. But we want to make a comprehensive report on the 29th,” Mr. Buhari had said.

But during his nation-wide address on Sunday morning, the President failed to make the details public. Instead, he said, the Information Ministry would soon release relevant details.

The development immediately drew the ire of Nigerians, who became outraged that their leader has once again failed to live up to his words.

But Mr. Mohammed said his principal has the right to reverse himself.

“Of course, he has a right to reverse himself on that,” he said.

Mr. Mohammed, however, said the administration will publish some details of recovered loot, but a far cry from what the president initially promised.

“We will get the list but not today; before the end of the week. But I must say not with the names,” he said.

But the claims that legal consequences prevented the president from announcing the names appear to be in sharp contrast with what the president did in January when he released the names of former military officials, private individuals and companies.

On January 15, Mr. Buhari published up to 41 names of former services chiefs, firms and individuals said to be responsible for over $2B arms procurement fund that was unaccounted for.

Credit: PremiumTimes

FG Plans Dialogue With Militants To End Pipeline Vandalism – Lai Mohammed, Kachikwu

The Minister for Information and Culture with the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, Monday, said the Federal Government is considering opening a robust dialogue with the Niger-Delta militants on the need to stop militancy in the oil rich region.


The duo who spoke in an interactive session with a coalition of civil societies in Lagos, chaired by Dr. Moses Ilo, founder of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, stressed that nefarious activities of militants is currently sabotaging efforts being made by the government to revamp the nation’s economy. Mohammed while lamenting the situation said there was no other solution to the issues happening in Niger Delta other than engaging them in meaningful dialogue.


According to Kachikwu the government has come to realize that rolling out military tanks against the militants would not solve the problem. “The military barrels cannot stop or solve problem of militancy in the Niger–Delta region. I will have to go back to my brothers, they are our brothers we will go and dialogue with them,” Kachikwu said.


He said the continued audit of the country’s daily fuel consumption resulted in weeding out 10 million liters of fake petroleum products that was daily subsidized by the previous administration. Kachikwu lamented that the fund spent in subsidizing the pretentious consumption daily could have been used by the Federal Government to fix the refineries, roads and other basic amenities across the country which would have helped improve the Nigeria’s economy.


He said the continued audit of the country’s daily fuel consumption resulted in weeding out 10 million liters of fake petroleum products that was daily subsidized by the previous administration. Kachikwu lamented that the fund spent in subsidizing the pretentious consumption daily could have been used by the Federal Government to fix the refineries, roads and other basic amenities across the country which would have helped improve the Nigeria’s economy.

Credit: Vanguard


Why Nigeria Is Broke– Lai Mohammed

Federal Government on Wednesday summed up the reasons for the all-time increase in the pump price of fuel, saying that it was broke and needed to raise money to keep the system afloat.

The government said that Nigeria’s foreign earnings had drastically waned in the recent times that the only way out of the financial quagmire was to look inwards to generate more money. Information Minister, Mr. Lai Mohammadu made the disclosure while briefing the State House Correspondents alongside his colleagues, the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami and Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola and Labour Minister, Dr. Chris Ngigie at the end of the Federal Executive Council meeting, chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Council met to review most contemporary national issues which prominently revolved around the fuel hike, its attendant challenges and industrial action by the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC. He said: “The current problem is not really about subsidy removal. It is about that Nigeria is broke. Pure and simple!

“It is like somebody who has been earning N100,000 a month and he is faced with a situation where his employer says henceforth you will be earning N10,000 a month. He would need to make some very painful decisions and some very painful adjustments. That is the situation with Nigeria today.

  “A few months ago, we were earning as much as $100 for every barrel of crude. In the months of February and March, we were short of…so, we no longer have the resources, the foreign exchange to bring in refined fuel products. And our economy is shrinking.

“We appreciate the fact that the decision is going to affect everybody. We appreciate what we are going through, but Nigerians should also know that the government has the responsibility at times to take very difficult decisions. So, it is not always about popularity.”

Credit: vanguardngr

FG Committed To Revamping The Economy – Lai Mohammed

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has restated the commitment of the Federal Government to revamp the economy, fight insurgency and corruption.


He made the statement on Monday in Abuja when Dr Yemisi Bamgbose, National President, Radio, Television, Theatre and Arts Workers Union of Nigeria (RATTAWU), paid him a courtesy call.


He said that the Federal Government had prioritised agriculture as a sector that would link the other sectors of the economy.


The minister said that one of the objectives of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was to boost local production of rice to serve as substitute to imported rice.

He said that the administration had taken the issues of the media seriously, adding that informed the reason he had several meetings with stakeholders in the industry.


Mohammed said that there was need to re-invent media organisations in the country to enable them compete favourably with their counterparts in other parts of the world.


Earlier, Bamgbose said that his union controlled 90 per cent stakeholders in the media and culture sector and commended the Federal Government for its fight against insurgency and corruption.


The RATTAWU president urged the Federal Government to take practical step to diversify economy through agriculture and to ensure that the nation’s refineries were working at optimal level.


While stressing that the government should do something about poor remuneration of workers in the media industry, Bamgbose called for adequate funding of government owned media organizations to enable them function effectively.


He said the culture sector could generate enormous revenue for this country if properly energised.




Lai Mohammed Fires Heads Of Information Parastatals

The Federal Government has disengaged the heads of the six information-related parastatals under the Ministry of Information and Culture.

The affected Chief Executives are the Directors-General of NTA, Mr Sola Omole, FRCN, Mr Ladan Salihu, VON, Mr Sam Worlu, NOA, Mr Mike Omeri, NBC Mr Emeka Mba and the Managing Director of NAN Mr Ima Niboro.

In a statement which said that the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, announced the disengagement during a meeting he held with the Chief Executives of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Voice of Nigeria (VON), News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and the National Orientation Agency (NOA) on Monday .

The Minister directed the disengaged Chief Executives to hand over to the most senior officials in their various establishments, the statement said.

He however thanked them for their service to the nation and wished them the best of luck in their future endeavours.

Credit: Leadership

What We See In The Media Are Mostly Negative News – Lai Mohammed

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has assured that Nigeria will do all it takes to ensure the continued survival and repositioning of the Pan African News Agency (PANA) to enable it fulfil its mandate.

The Minister gave the assurance in Lagos on Wednesday when he received a delegation of the continental news agency, comprising the Interim Chairman of the Board, Dr. Ibrahim Daggash, and the Managing Director, Mr. Babacar Fall.

He said Africa needs PANA now more than ever to tell the continent’s stories from the African perspective, rather than the perspective of others.

”If African stories cannot be told from the African perspectives by Africans, events on the continent will always be viewed from the prisms of the Western and other media – and such prisms are often distorted.

”With PANA unable to fully fulfil its mandate, Africa has continued to be portrayed as a continent of wars, diseases, deaths, famine, poverty and bad governance, among others. The spread of democracy, economic growth that for decades remained among the strongest in the world, and the end of most of the wars that bedevilled Africa for years are some of the good news coming out of Africa. But these are rarely reported.

”What we see in the media are mostly negative news that portrayed the continent as a land of plagues, poverty and hopelessness. This has fed into the desperation of many of our youths to escape from the continent at all cost, even at the gravest risks to their lives,” the Alhaji Mohammed said.

He said a vibrant PANA could have helped in changing the narrative, but noted that the news agency is ”chronically hobbled today” as it struggles for survival.

The Minister said whereas the Organization of African Unity (OAU), now the African Union (AU), established PANA to help Africa to find its voice in the global information order, the agency itself seems to have lost its own voice.

He assured that the kind of PANA that Africa will be proud of could emerge from a concerted effort by all concerned, saying the management of the news agency must be creative in working out the strategies that will turn around the fortunes of the agency, which is based in Dakar, Senegal.

”With the dwindling resources of many African nations, it may not be feasible to revert to assessed contributions to run the agency. Therefore, the management must be willing to think out of the box and come up with innovative ideas for the funding of the agency. I am aware that several funding initiatives have been mooted in the past, but none seems to have seen the light of day,” Alhaji Mohammed said.

He said African Information Ministers, who played a major role in the emergence of the continental news agency, must take the lead in the efforts to reposition the agency to fully fulfill its mandate, adding: ”Anything short of such a high-level attention to PANA will amount to a mere tokenism that will not take the agency anywhere.”

Culture Minister Wants Nigeria’s Visa Policy Relaxed

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has called for the relaxation of the nation’s visa policy so that visitors to Nigeria can easily be given entry visas.



The minister, who spoke while briefing the Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism in Abuja on Tuesday, said that the advocated policy would boost tourism. He said that granting visitors’ visas on arrival, would go a long way in making the country tourists’ destination.



The minister added that government must improve the state of infrastructure and tourism sites across the country; so as to make Nigeria attractive to tourists.



“People talk about terrorism, but I can tell you that terrorism is not the major issue hindering tourism in Nigeria. There is more terrorism in Israel than in Nigeria, but yet people troop to that country every year for pilgrimage. Again, imagine a beautiful tourism site like the Obudu Resort, but the flight arrangement is such that when you go to Obudu on a Saturday for instance, there is no flight until the next Saturday. “How do you expect a tourist to undertake such adventure,” he queried, adding,” we have to make the tourism sites very attractive and accessible.”




In his remarks, Chairman of the committee, Sen. Matthew Urhoghide, urged the ministry officials to initiate new programmes that can make Nigeria an attractive tourists’ destination.



The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the agencies and departments under the ministry were billed to defend their budget before the Committee on Appropriation on Feb. 16.

Name Ex Gov Thieves, Others, In N1.34tr Fraud; Fayose Tasks Lai Mohammed

Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State has challenged the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, to make public names of the 15 former governor and 55 Nigerians that he claimed stole N1.34 trillion between 2006 and 2013 or keep his mouth shut permanently.

The governor, who also described as ‘disgraceful, bringing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh to court in handcuff’, said; “Even the masterminds of Mandala and Nyanya bomb blasts, Kabiru Sokoto and Aminu Sadiq Ogwuche were not handcuffed when they were arraigned in court.”

He continued, “The reality is that the All Progressives Congress (APC) Federal Government has destroyed the economy within eight months in power and rather than look for solutions to the problems facing Nigeria, Lai Mohammed and his cohorts are branding bogus figures about stolen money just to cover up their lack of solution to the country’s economic problems.”

The governor’s message was contained in a release issued by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka.

Governor Fayose also said it was funny that close to one year after it won the presidential election, the President Mohammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) federal government was still operating as if it was campaigning for votes.

The governor continued, “They are turning governance to Nollywood, such that when one movie is about to end, they release another one. As it appears that the $2.1 billion arms deal movie is getting to an end, Lai Mohammed introduced another movie titled; N1.34 trillion loot.

“Unfortunately for them this time around, Nigerians have become tired of watching the Federal Government movies, they now want reality. Nigerians are now aware of the scam in the $2.1 billion arms deal movie having seen that the amount those already charged to court were charged with is not more than N10 billion and $2.1 billion is over N600 billion.

“Therefore, Lai Mohammed must either tell Nigerians details of the 15 former governors and 55 people that he claimed stole N1.34 trillion, where the stolen money is kept and bring back the money or apologise to Nigerians for lying.”

Credit: DailyTimes

Workers’ Welfare, Our priority – Lai Mohammed

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said on Tuesday that the ministry would continue to place emphasis on the welfare of its staff, to boost their morale and enhance their productivity.


Mohammed said this while handing over the keys of two newly-acquired buses to the Joint Staff Union of the ministry in Abuja.



The minister said that the presentation of the vehicles marked the beginning of the numerous welfare packages that would be unveiled for the workers in due course.



“I want to assure you that this is the beginning of our gesture to make the welfare of workers in the Ministry of Information and Culture a priority.


Because without their cooperation, the ministry cannot achieve what we want to achieve.’’


The minister said the ministry had commenced the process of phasing out old staff buses and replacing them with new ones for the convenience of staff.


“A couple of weeks ago, we decided in our meeting that the vehicles in the pool are getting very old and we said that we would be gradually replacing those vehicles as funds are available.


We believe that it is morally wrong of us to expect workers to come early to work when they are using staff buses that are 20 years old.


These vehicles will break down on the way to work and many of our people also live quite far away from the office, so we decided with the management, to look at the best way to relieve the hardship of workers,’’ he said.



The minister, however, cautioned the operators of the staff buses to handle them with care in order to ensure their durability as well as the safety of the staffers.


In his response, the Chairman, Joint Staff Union in the ministry, Mr Adam Agwola, commended the minister for the gesture and promised that workers would reciprocate the gesture by re-dedicating themselves to duty.



Minister Urges Media To Report Insurgency With National Fervour

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has urged media professionals to report issues relating to the fight against insurgency with national interest in mind.


The minister gave the advice during his maiden meeting with editorial heads of media houses in Lagos on Wednesday.


He made the plea against the backdrop of a recent publication, which he said was an attempt by insurgents to discredit the efforts of Nigerian military.


“As the Dec. 31 deadline approaches, Boko Haram and ISIS have launched their propaganda seeking to discredit the Nigerian military to give the impression that they (terrorist) are still holding sway.


A report in that regard was widely published in newspapers a few days ago.


This is not true, Boko Haram is dispersed and largely depleted; the insurgents are hungry, they are sick and desperate.”



He added that the sect had perfected plans to spread propaganda messages, especially during this festive season and urged the public to disregard such messages.



“In the days ahead, they (Boko Haram) will release propaganda videos through their usual channels.


We must not give this any play because it is nothing but a hoax.’’


He, therefore, enjoined media professionals to work in the spirit of national interest, saying “in this time of war, you cannot afford to be neutral.


“Yes, you must remain professional at all times and we are not asking you to do anything less but you must also act in the national interest always.


Acting in the national interest means not playing up the reports of the cowardly Boko Haram attacks on soft targets.


Acting in the national interest means not regurgitating the propaganda of Boko Haram and its fellow terrorist group, ISIS.


It means extolling the bravery and sacrifice of our gallantry; viewing the war from a partisan prism.


It also means rallying all Nigerians irrespective of our religious or political background to support the war.



“It is not a war of the north; it is not the war of any religion, it a war belonging to all of us’’, he said.




We Have Met December Deadline Against Boko Haram- Lai Mohammed

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said on Wednesday that the Nigerian military had met the December deadline to defeat the Boko Haram terrorists.

The minister said this during his maiden meeting with editorial heads of media houses in Lagos.
President Mohammadu Buhari had, upon assuming office, issued a December 31 deadline to the military to defeat the Boko Haram terrorists.

“Today, I can report that the war against Boko Haram is largely won. I can confidently say this because just recently, I led a group of 33 journalists from both the local and international media to the hotbed of the insurgency, that is, Maiduguri, Kondugua, Kaoure and Bama.

“Today, I can report to you that the entire 70 plus kilometres stretch from Maiduguri to Bama and all the way to Banki which leads to Cameroun and the Central African Republic are in the hands of our gallant troops.”

He said the military presence could be felt ”every few metres along the road; at a point along that road we were just a kilometre to Sambisa forest. They have so degraded the capacity of Boko Haram that the terrorists can no longer hold on to any territory just as they can no longer carry out any spectacular attack.”

Mr. Mohammed, however, said that although there were still cases of suicide bombings, it was pertinent to note that such was the nature of insurgency globally.Unlike a war between two armies, an insurgency never ends with arms victory. Even in countries like Colombia where insurgency was supposed to have ended decades ago, attacks like this still happen.”

He said that the insurgents had adopted a new style of attacking soft targets like motor parks, schools, entertainment centres, religious centres, killing innocent people mostly women and children.

He, therefore, urged Nigerians to support the military in the fight against terrorism in the country, saying that the military had availed itself creditably.

Credit: PremiumTimes

Boko Haram Can’t End Overnight – Lai Mohammed

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the military has sufficiently degraded the capacity of Boko Haram to launch spectacular attacks while also retaking most of the territories seized by the terrorists.

”Winning the war against insurgency is about sufficiently degrading the insurgents’ capacity for action. This the military has substantially done. The rest is mop-up actions,” the Minister said at a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday, following his recent trip to Borno State to visit the areas liberated by the military.

”The military has largely met the deadline issued by the President, and would have done so totally by December. The question, therefore, is no longer whether the military will be able to meet the December deadline, it is about how to give the military all the support it requires to continue to keep our country safe from the activities of the terrorists,” he said.

Alhaji Mohammed however explained that, decimated and put on the run, the rump of the insurgents has now resorted to attacking soft targets: motor parks, entertainment centres, houses of worship, etc.

”Make no mistake about it, this will not stop overnight. It will gradually taper off. That is the way it happens anywhere such a war has been fought.

”It is also important to situate the deadline by the President in its necessary context. Insurgency is an asymmetrical warfare, not a ‘shooting war’ between two Armies. No truce or armistice is ever signed to end such war. The implication is that while Boko Haram can no longer execute spectacular attacks, hold territories, declare a Caliphate and even collect taxes, lone wolf attacks – which are like the death pangs of a dying horse – will continue for some time and then fizzle out. This is the absolute truth,” he said.

Credit: Sun

FG To Begin Campaign Against African-Time Syndrome — Lai Mohammed

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, says a nation-wide campaign against indiscipline, African-time syndrome and loss of social norms and values will begin before the end of the year.

Mohammed stated this on Tuesday at a strategic planning meeting he held with the chief executives of agencies and other top management staff of the ministry in Abuja.

“You are welcome to this meeting, which I have convened to present to you the template for the massive, nationwide reorientation campaign to be embarked upon by this ministry very soon.

“Those invited to this meeting have been painstakingly selected because I believe they have the necessary expertise to help drive the campaign.

“However, let me state unequivocally, that everyone in the Ministry of Information and Culture as well as its parastatals, is key to the campaign.

“This is because as the lead ministry, we must first buy into the campaign and own it before we can propagate it.’’

The minister said that the National Orientation Agency (NOA) would spearhead the campaign to ensure positive change of attitude, values and behaviours of Nigerians.

“As I have said on several occasions, the National Orientation Agency will be in the forefront of the campaign, because it is in line with its mandate to positively change attitudes, values and behaviours.

“Make no mistake about it, we need to change the way we do things in Nigeria.

“It is important to let our people know that they cannot continue to do things the same way and expect a different result.

“The impending campaign must take on indiscipline, the lack of respect for time, loss of our time-tested values and generally lead to attitudinal change in such a way that there will be a paradigm shift in the way we do things.

“This is also in line with my vision as Minister of Information and Culture.’’

According to him, the ministry has put enormous work into the presentations that it is about to showcase.

He stated that the presentations should be considered the template for the campaign.

“But feel free to critique them and make suggestions so that the campaign can be ready on time for its launch this year unfailingly,’’ the minister added.

Nigerians Are Imbibing Culture Of Change – Lai Mohammed

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has disclosed that things have changed within the last few months of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government as Nigerians are already imbibing the culture of change.


He tied this to the President’s demonstration of the virtue of change by adhering strictly to transparency in his fight against corruption and by instructing his drivers to obey traffic rules at all times.


Speaking at an interactive session with newsmen on Tuesday shortly after meeting with the Association of Civil Servants of Nigeria, ACSN, in Abuja, Mohammed stated that Buhari and the ministers had equally imbibed the culture of keeping to time slated for any event by the organiser.
He reasoned that if the President leads by these good examples and ministers follow suit, Nigerians have no option than to imbibe same culture.


The Minister applauded the merger of information and culture into one ministry, assuring that it would make the ministry to easily drive the change agenda.

He therefore sought the cooperation of the ACSN to join the ministry in its efforts to drive the change agenda, insisting that “If the Buhari administration is to successfully implement its change agenda, we must not only partner with the government, we must be the face of change and we must live change.

“My doors are always open, and I am willing to work with you for the realisation of the dream to make our country great,’’ he added.


Credit : Daily Post

N5,000 Allowance For Unemployed Youths Will Be Paid, APC Assures Nigerians

The All Progressives Congress has assured Nigerians that it will not renege on its campaign promise to pay 5,000 Naira each monthly to 25 million most vulnerable Nigerians, while calling on the citizens to ignore the mischievous attempt by the PDP to confuse and mislead them on this issue.


In a statement issued in Abuja on Friday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said even though the PDP-led Federal Government plundered the common wealth in its time, it (APC) has devised creative means not only to pay the money but also to fulfill its other campaign promises to Nigerians.


It said the non-implementation of the payment policy so far is due to the fact that it was not included in the 2015
budget, which was prepared by the PDP-led Jonathan Administration, and also because of the need to first block
all financial leakages.
”Now, the Buhari administration has been busy putting into place measures that will make it possible to start the implementation of this project. Such measures include the introduction of the Treasury Single Account (TSA).


”We are happy to inform Nigerians that as of the end of September 2015, over 1.4 trillion Naira – which hitherto was
lying unproductively in various commercial banks – has been recovered and paid into the TSA,” APC said.


The party said that in its usual jumpy and superficial approach to issues, the PDP has already rushed to judgement on the issue without bothering to hear from the APC, which made the promise in the first instance.


Credit : Punch

Lai Mohammed Accuses Metuh Of Character Assassination

The spokesperson of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has accused the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh of defaming his character, in a press release he allegedly authored and circulated on September 20, 2015.

According to Mohammed, Metuh had, in the said release stated that he (Mohammed) embezzled the funds meant for fencing an airport in one of the APC-controlled states in the South-West.

He claimed that Metuh also accused him of obtaining money to supply ambulances to one APC-controlled state in the South-West, but never did so.

Metuh had, in the statement, allegedly wondered where Mohammed got the morality right to speak on corruption, when, indeed, the APC spokesman ‘had mastered the art of corruption, having been a personal aide to one of the most corrupt politicians to ever bestride the political space of the country’.

Read More: dailytimes

Lai Mohammed Causes Frenzy At Senate Screening

The floor of the Senate was on Tuesday, thrown into frenzy and a drama of sort, as the National Publicity Secretary of the ruling All Progressives Party (APC) and one of President Muhammadu Buhari’s 10 ministerial nominees to be screened today, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, appeared before the Senator.

Senate President Bukola Saraki asked Lai Mohammed, a nominee from Kwara to introduce himself, and shouts of ‘bow and go’ rented the air.

Senate Leader Ndume moves that Lai Mohammed bows and go but Saraki asked that Senators allow him (Mohammed) to speak.

In his speech, Lai Mohammed said he might have ruffled a few feathers in the course of his duties, but it wasn’t personal. He said it’s service to be in the opposition, but a higher service to serve in Government.

At this, Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio said having known Lai Mohammed so well, it is not unusual that he might have a propaganda to drop before the Senate.

The upper chamber was thrown into another round of frenzy, as Saraki, at this point asked Lai Mohammed to speak a few more words before he bows and go.

The APC national image-maker, who is touted to become the Minister of Information, added that his mission and vision if confirmed minister is to be passionate, committed and patriotic as he was as APC National Publicity Secretary. Alhaji Lai Mohammed bowed and left.

Credit: vanguardngr

I Am Unaware Of Lai Mohammed’s N500m Defamation Suit- Metuh

The Publicity Secretary of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh, on Tuesday, responded to media reports that spokesperson of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has filed a N500 against million suit at a Lagos State High Court in Ikeja, seeking compensation for alleged defamation of his person by some issues raised by him (Metuh) in response to one of his (Mohammed’s) statements.

Richard Ihediwa, the special assistant to the PDP Publicity Secretary, in a statement on Tuesday,  said neither the PDP spokesperson nor any of his lawyers was aware of any such suit by Mohammed, adding that they have not been served.

Ihediwa said: “The attention of the Office of the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been drawn to reports in some section of the media, suggesting that the National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has filed a suit against Chief Olisa Metuh…”

Read Morevanguardngr

Ministerial Screening: Saraki, Kwara senators endorse Lai Mohammed

Ministerial nominee from Kwara State, Lai Mohammed has been endorsed by the three senators from the State, including the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki.


The trio unanimously gave a nod for the National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, to be appointed as minister.


The two other senators are Rafiu Ibrahim, Kwara South and Mohammed Shaaba Lafiagi of Kwara North.


This was revealed in a tweet from the official handle of the Nigerian Senate, @NGRSENATE.


“#MinisterialScreening Alhaji #LaiMuhammed today received endorsement of all Senators from Kwara @bukolasaraki @rafiuibrahim #ShabaLafiagi,” the post read.


Mohammed was born into the family of Alhaji Mohammed Adekeye in 1952.


NNPC Moving $1.2b From Banks To Cover NLNG Fraud – APC

The All Progressives Congress, APC, has renewed its call on the Federal Government to probe the whereabouts of the dividends paid to the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, by the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG, as well as the taxes paid to the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS Federation Account prior to the latest payment in June 2015.

In a statement issued in Lagos on Wednesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party said the call has become more urgent against the backdrop of published reports that the NNPC has withdrawn $1.2 billion from banks so it could place the money with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

It said the move by the NNPC is a panic reaction to the expose by the party (APC) that over $4 billion dollars are missing in past dividends paid to the NNPC by the NLNG.

”Whereas NLNG’s dividends are paid to NNPC’s account with JP Morgan, from where they are supposed to be paid into the Federation Account in accordance with the law, some unscrupulous officials of the corporation have apparently been moving such funds to local banks so they can collect huge commissions on them.

”Now that the cat has been let out of the bag, they have started moving the funds from the banks to the CBN. We believe what we are seeing now is just a tip of the iceberg, hence the need for the authorities to call the NNPC officials to give accounts of the paid NLNG dividends to date,” APC said.

The party said any delay in calling the officials to account for the dividends may give them enough time to cover their tracks, in addition to the dangers posed to the banks – and by extension the economy – by the sudden withdrawal of such a huge fund from the NNPC accounts with them.

”The top officials of the NNPC and others who met on Monday and decided to withdraw the $1.2 billion from the corporation’s account to the CBN must be asked a number of questions, including
their motive for the decision and the whereabouts of the commissions paid on such funds,” it said.

APC insisted that despite the attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of Nigerians, the Nigerian government must remain undaunted in unravelling what happened to the dividends as well as previous taxes paid by the NLNG, as part of ongoing efforts to plug all financial leakages, ensure the payment into the Federation Account of all relevant funds and stop the looting of the treasury by unscrupulous public officials who have opted to abuse their office.

”It is not by accident that until the advent of the Buhari Administration that has decided to enthrone transparency in governance, no one has heard anything about NLNG dividends and taxes, while the funds therefrom have not been shared, as they should have been. This is not right.

”A situation in which funds meant for all Nigerians are eaten up by a few will no longer be tolerated. Those who are opposed to the efforts by the Buhari Administration to clear the rot left behind by the past government and restore transparency to the system are enemies of Nigeria,” the party said.

Source – premiumtimes.com

APC Assures Nigerians Of Good Leadership – Lai Mohammed

Mr Lai Mohammed, National Publicity Secretary, All Progressives Congress (APC), on Friday assured Nigerians that APC administration would revamp the nation’s economy and fulfill its campaign promises.

Mohammed stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the sidelines of inauguration of Muhammadu Buhari as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces in Abuja.

He, however, urged Nigerians to be patient as the expected change would not happen overnight.

He said Buhari was aware of the daunting challenges ahead but would remain undaunted in the face of such challenges.

“We thank God for today and we want to assure Nigerians that the APC government will not disappoint them.

“Buhari is a man of immense integrity and is aware of the challenges ahead, and I assure you that he will deliver good leadership,’’ he said.

Also, Sen. Olorunibe Mamora, a chieftain of the APC, said that the new administration would tackle corruption, adding that the expected change would be achieved soon.

“It might be a difficult task for the income government to achieve the “change’’ as a result of serious challenges on ground but the president has capacity to deliver.

“The APC administration will strive and take Nigeria to a greater height by rebuilding our institutions and tackling corruption,’’ he said.

A Senator-elect, Mr Dino Melaye told NAN that the integrity and anti-corruption stand of Buhari would were assets that would help in building a better Nigeria.

“The president is renowned for his integrity and ant-corruption stand.

“All these will come to play as he strives towards rebuilding Nigeria but our people should be patient and realistic in their expectations,’’ he said. (NAN)

Lai Mohammed Offers Metuh Free 6Week Crash Course As Opposition Spokesman

APC has denied having any hand in the crumbling of the PDP, as alleged by the party’s National Publicity Secretary Olisa Metuh, while offering him, (Metuh) a free, six-week crash course on his new role as the opposition spokesman.

Reacting to the allegation by Mr. Metuh that the APC has been working to destabilize the PDP, the party said in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, in Abuja on Friday, that during the training, Mr. Metuh will be given free lessons by his APC counterpart, in the spirit of cooperation and for the advancement of the nation’s democracy.

”Metuh will need the training to effectively carry out his new, tough task. It is now obvious that he needs to understand that for him to succeed in his new role, he must be credible, empirical, more sophisticated in language use and very passionate, in addition to being able to operate on a lean or zero budget,” it said.

APC said it is ludicrous, to say the least, for anyone to suggest that the APC is seeking to destabilize the PDP, when the erstwhile ruling party has done such a great job of crumbling under its own weight, having gorged on the commonwealth.

Read More: premiumtimesng

APC’s Allegations Against PDP, FG Baseless Over Card Readers – Fani-Kayode

Director of media and publicity of the Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Organisation (PDPPCO), Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, has described the allegation by All Progressives Congress (APC) that the PDP-led federal government is planning to render the card readers ineffective on election days as wild and baseless.

Fani-Kayode, who said this in a statement while reacting to the APC’s allegation, said the federal government and the PDP did not have any plans to sabotage the card readers and did not need to indulge in such shady, sinister and tardy practices.

He said, “We view this wild and baseless allegation with amusement. Frankly, the APC deserves to be pitied. So desperate are they for power that their latest strategy is to come up with a different lie for every day of the week.

“They have lost control of their senses; their imagination has gone wild and they see things that are simply not there.

“This latest allegation is absurd; it is not rooted in truth; it is irrational and illogical. It is clear that the opposition are already preparing the grounds and making excuses for their own defeat.

“Instead of saying something tangible and attempting to ginger up and encourage their supporters, all they indulge in is giving them a daily dose of sub-standard fairy tales and dirty lies. They should stop all these nonsense and desist from making these wild and baseless allegations.

“President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP do not have any plans to sabotage the card readers, neither do we need to indulge in such shady, sinister and tardy practices.

“We look forward to the elections which will commence in two weeks time and we have no doubt that the overwhelming number of the Nigerian people will vote for our candidates and support our party.”

Corruption: ‘Jonathan Has Plugged All Loopholes’

The Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Organisation (PDPPCO) yesterday declared that President Goodluck Jonathan is better ranked than his predecessors in office in the fight against corruption.

The PDP campaign team added that Jonathan has successfully plugged all loopholes which corrupt persons take advantage of to operate freely in the country.

Director of media and publicity of the PDPPCO, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, who made those declarations in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja, said the APC presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, cannot fight corruption because he is not only surrounded by corrupt men but also unable to give what he does not have.

Fani-Kayode said, “More than any other president in the history of Nigeria, President Goodluck Jonathan has fought corruption and has successfully plugged all the loopholes that allow corrupt persons to operate freely and with impunity in our country.

“His reforms in the agricultural sector with special reference to the new system for the procurement of fertiliser, his reforms in NNPC and the whole area of oil subsidies prove this. Millions of dollars have been saved in these areas alone as a consequence of Mr President’s innovative initiatives.”

Fani-Kayode Demands N5billion & Apology From Lai Mohammed Over Mental Disorder Comment

Femi Fani-Kayode, has issued a letter demanding an apology and N5billion damages ?from the Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, Lai Mohammed, ?for questioning his “mental state?”?.

Mr. Femi-Kayode’s letter dated March 3, through Whyte Prekunomaa of Ahmed Raji and Co, quoted Mr. Mohammed as saying, “We are seriously concerned that Mr. Fani-Kayode may have unhinged, perhaps as a result of a relapse into an unhealthy lifestyle of substance abuse. Our concern stems from the series of incoherent statements, outlandish claims and inconsistent behaviours exhibited by Mr. Fani-Kayode in recent times, which call into question his state of mental health.”

Fani-Kayode in a letter, addressed to Mr. Mohammed, denied he ever made such a statement. The letter titled, Re: Femi Fani-Kayode: We’re Concerned About Fani Kayode’s Mental Status, read in part: “Our client denies in its entirety the contents of the above publication and innuendoes therein, and further states that every allegation against him in the said publication is false and defamatory of his person and character…”

Read More: PremiumTimes

PDP Accuses APC Of Fueling Petrol Scarcity

The People’s Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Organisation, PDPPCO, yesterday accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of being behind the present fuel scarcity in the country, by sabotaging the Federal Government’s efforts at ensuring that there was supply of Petroleum products.

A statement yesterday by the Director, Media and Publicity, PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation, Chief Femi Fani- Kayode said the sudden fuel scarcity in many parts of the country was because the APC had infiltrated the ranks of the fuel marketers, who had taken a sub-contract from the opposition to frustrate supplies of petrol to fuel stations as part of a grand plan to create tension in the polity.

“We know who the fuel marketers are. We know the relationship that exists between one of the biggest fuel marketers and a national leader of the APC,” Fani-Kayode claimed.

“These unconscionable opposition elements infiltrated the ranks of the fuel marketers, whom they have contracted, in a calculated attempt to frustrate the good efforts of government.”

The APC has, however, described the accusation as totally unconscionable. The party noted that the PDP-led FG had simply abdicated its responsibility to the people and should throw in the towel.

“The questions to ask are: who runs the NNPC? Who pays subsidy to fuel marketers? Who has used federal resources to bribe individuals and groups to such a level that there is no money to run the government, not to talk of paying subsidies?” a statement by the APC National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said.

Fani-Kayode Suffering From “Substance Abuse”- Lai Mohammed

APC has said contrary to the information being peddled by the spokesman of the Jonathan Campaign Organization, Femi Fani-Kayode, the party does not wish him any ill health, even though it is seriously concerned about his mental state.

“No, we have never and will never wish anyone any ill health. However, we are seriously concerned that Mr. Fani-Kayode may have unhinged, perhaps as a result of a relapse into an unhealthy lifestyle of substance abuse,” the party said in a statement issued in Dubai on Monday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed.

“Our concern stems from the series of incoherent statements, outlandish claims and inconsistent behaviours exhibited by Mr. Fani-Kayode in recent times, which call into question his state of mental health.

“We wish Mr. Fani-Kayode well and call on him to tell Nigerians that he remains clean, despite the massive pressure of work, and that he will not do anything that will see him needing a prolonged reformation in a foreign land,” it said.

Read Morepremiumtimesng

APC Bought Chatham House Event for Buhari, Says Fayose

The Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has said the APC must apologize for lying to Nigerians on the health status of its presidential candidate, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), using pictures taken in Transcop Hilton, Abuja and claiming that the pictures were taken in London.

Fayose said: “It was interesting that the loquacious APC spokesperson, Lai Mohammed, could develop a cold feet and muscle pull in his mouth such that he suddenly realized that he could not join issues with Fayose”.

In a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, Governor Fayose said: “The Chatham House one hour event scheduled for Thursday was paid for by the APC with the hope that Buhari will be well enough to appear in public briefly by Thursday…”

Read More: dailypost.ng

APC Tasks Police To Fish Out Those Behind Raid On Chairman’s House

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has cried out over the safety of its National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and his family.

The APC raised the alarm today after unknown invaders raided the Abuja home of the APC National Chairman in the early hours of the day.

The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in a statement in Lagos said the party was hoping that a police investigation will unravel what happened, adding that it is either those who attacked the residence at 1.30 am were robbers or assassins.

The statement revealed that Chief Oyegun was away attending a previously unscheduled meeting in Abuja when the invaders struck but his wife, who was at home at the time the invaders came, was deeply traumatized by the raid.

“The facts of the raid as available so far point to a sinister motive. For example, only Chief Oyegun’s room was ransacked in the whole house. Common sense dictates that if the invaders were robbers, they would have ransacked the whole house in search of money and other valuables which they might have believed were in the residence

“The invaders, two burly men, removed the window burglar bars to gain access to the residence from the back, and then made straight for the bedroom of our national chairman. Police security was in place at the residence when the incident happened,” APC said.

Mohammed said though the party does not know who was behind the raid, it is believed that the angry rhetoric and vitriolic personality attacks directed at the opposition by the leadership of the PDP and their Spokespersons have heightened tension, putting the lives of opposition politicians at risk ahead of the elections.

APC Members Would Never Think Of Poisoning The President In the Name Of Power Tussle – Lai Mohammed

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has said the comment by Chief Edwin Clark, that if the opposition has its way it can poison or kill President Goodluck Jonathan just to take power, is absurd, incendiary and unbecoming of an elder statesman of the Chief’s stature.

In a statement issued in Lagos on Monday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said Chief Clark’s comment, which was widely reported by newspapers, is the latest in a string of statements by President Jonathan’s supporters that are overheating the polity ahead of the 2015 general elections and are even threatening the peace and unity of the country.


”We have waited for several days to give Chief Clark the opportunity to deny making such a fallacious statement, but he has not done so, which means he was not misquoted and that he indeed meant what he said.

”It is time for the President himself to call his supporters to order for the sake of the peace and unity of our dear nation. They have been threatening fire and brimstone if the President is not re-elected in 2015, as if elections are won by threats. One has even gone as far as saying there will blood on the streets if the President is not re-elected,” it said.

APC said in making his dangerous comment, Chief Clark probably mistook the party for the PDP, which has been described as the nest of killers.

”Our party has never and will never contemplate killing or poisoning President Jonathan just to take power, as Chief Clark carelessly said. We are neither a violent nor an anarchic party. We do not seek power by any means other than through the ballot box. Therefore we reject, totally, the statement by Chief Clark.

”We remind Chief Clark that since President Jonathan was voted into office by Nigerians, they also reserve the right to vote him out of office. This is the way it is done in every true democracy, and heavens will not fall if President Jonathan is not re-elected in 2015. His supporters should put their emotions in check and stop making comments that are downright treasonable,” the party said.

Source – www.vanguardngr.com

APC Writes Jonathan And Police IG On Asari’s Threat To Lai Mohammed

The All Progressives Congress on Tuesday wrote a letter to President Goodluck Jonathan alleging threats to its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, by the leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force, Mujahid Dokubo-Asari.

In the letter which was signed by its National Secretary, Mai Mala Buni, the APC said Dokubo-Asari’s threat was contained in an interview he granted to the online newspaper Premium Times on Friday, Oct. 17, 2014.

The party said the threat was sequel to a press statement   issued on behalf of the party by Mohammed on October 8, 2014, asking the Federal Government to explain the reported presence of Dokubo-Asari on the plane that transported US$9.3m cash to South Africa

In the interview, Dokubo-Asari said while he would adopt a civilised response to Mohammed by first suing the APC spokesperson for his remarks, he warned that should the courts failed to deliver justice, “he will resort to self-help by using his hands and any other means to deal with Mr. Mohammed.

#KakandaTemple ~ Of Mass Despair and Political Vampirism


If you still hold on to the delusion that your worth as a human, and even as a citizen, is as important as the ambition of our desperate politicians or that, as an ordinary citizen, you’re indeed indispensable in their political calculations and foresights, you have obviously stopped using, a misfortune this brings, that with which you were born, to perceive, analyse and understand: your brain.

The explosions at a bus park in Nyanya, a suburb of Abuja, this week did not just punctuate the existence of tens of struggling Nigerians, and condemning a lot more to permanent handicaps, but intensified the debates over the worth of the masses in a country this insecure, and yet polarised.

Being human and poor in Nigeria, the vagabonds in power have loudly confirmed, is a mere statistical existence. Worthless. Like our GDP figure. Perhaps we need to define the meaning of “death” and “humanity” to them. They don’t seem to know that death is a one-way ticket to permanent oblivion. We’re not animals for God’s sake. We’re humans. Like the Americans. Like the Europeans. Live every decent human being, in whom are soul, emotions and dreams, all over the world. But being a Nigerian, the incapability to protect us has shown, is a mere geographic identity; an identity of an undermined people stripped of their humanity in a godforsaken country.

Elsewhere, bombs don’t discriminate. Ours do. Our bombs are always sensitive to class: they’re mostly in places where the masses gather and struggle to stay alive independent of a government that does nothing to redeem their sufferings. Yet the clueless members of our ruling class who have sorrowfully lamented that their offices only bring them endless miseries and difficulties in managing the people still go ahead to run for office. And I ask: is democracy now a system for hereditary rights?

My biggest fear remains the vulnerability of Nigerian masses to the veneers of ethno-religious and regional advocacies championed by our politicians to disarm any tendency to unite for the purpose of revolt against them. They have never given the masses an opportunity to think, with the rate at which they highlight divisive trends to confuse them and even be seen as heroes to those whose rights and interests they claim to be defending as political representatives. In a recent bid to exploit our disarmed intelligence, the Publicity Secretary of PDP, reacting to the Nyanya blasts, reportedly singled the main opposition party out for responsibility in the unholy act. It could be said that Metuh was only being an image-maker, blaming the opposition before they’d do so, before APC’s image-maker Lai Mohammed’s predictable, PDP-bashing press release would hit the press. It could be said, also, that Metuh was tired of being on the defensive, hence the reason for his conclusion that APC was responsible within just a few minutes after the incident, qualifying for the briefest investigation ever conducted in history. This malicious PR would, apparently, forestall any intention by the APC spokesman to blame PDP. Smart villains!

But this vile politics is not commendable at all, outrightly uncharitable in a country where condolences have become as common as hellos. In a real country, Olisa Metuh and all politicians who have attempted to blame the others as perpetrators of terror acts may be taken in by the authority and properly interrogated and, if found to be merely mischievous, the court will decide the number of years they may have to spend in jail for such defamations and polarising accusations. It’s so sad that the clowns we have in charge of this nation are polarising accusers whose evils thrive on our refusal to be serious, I mean unite against this undeserved political vampirism that consumes us, not in bits, in mass, one after the other, mass after mass!

As expressed elsewhere, Nigeria is a nation where Critical Thinking has been in exile. What has found a throne in Nigeria is Creative Thinking; a dangerous culture that produces the Olisa Metuhs and the Wendell “Reno” Simlins, harebrained and hopeless analysts incapable of telling A apart from H because, so diseased, they won’t see the top of anything. They don’t see, or won’t say, that the top of A is angular

In analysing the clues available for making meanings out of our national tragedies, we see the genius of these creative thinkers: Boko Haram, they create, this time with disturbing confidence, is a reaction to the existence of non-northern President. The same Boko Haram insurgents that have destroyed the habitats of the people you refer to as their brothers and sisters? The same Boko Haram whose founder was killed by a northern and, very importantly, Muslim President? How many more follies do Nigerians have to exude for this subclinical psychopathy to be medically confirmed.

Though the silliness of the Metuhs and the Similins is mere selfish propaganda designed to secure the fate of their bosses in 2015, how about the unsuspecting and gullible citizens they have indoctrinated, rousing mutual suspicions? Their polarisation strategy is so effective that even in our anger over the Nyanya blasts we still trade blames, allowing ourselves to be possessed by the propagandas of the ruling elite whose interests are hardly found in suburban Nigeria where the masses tend to their dreams and hopes, forsaken and confused. We don’t ask the right questions. We refuse to even acknowledge that the bombs didn’t differentiate between the Muslims and Christians, Igbo and Hausa, Southerners and Northerners, Children and Adults… We refuse to acknowledge that only the members of an embarrassingly played class were killed and damaged in the blasts!

The Presidency, in justifying its refusal to cancel its planned political fanfares over the terror attack, said that such is to prove to the terrorists that they can never stop pulse of the nation. But if the terrorists who have also abducted our sisters and daughters, just when we were still mourning, are as inconsequential as Mr President seeks to portray, why hasn’t he visited their hotbeds in Borno? Would Goodluck Jonathan and his fellow PDP partiers have continued in their political campaigns and fanfares if it were members of the ruling class that died in the Nyanya blasts? Would they have been so openly unsympathetic and indifferent if the blasts had consumed some of them? No, Mr. President, the only way to prove that you’re unstoppable is by crushing them. Your empty boasts that you have succeeded in restricting Boko Haram insurgents to the fringes (as though the fringes are not part of your territory), which the Nyanya blasts have shown as untrue, would not protect us when they strike while you are fortressed in Aso Rock, unmindful of how N1 trillion naira disbursed for our security were used, and yet the country is still unsafe!

Poverty is not a lack of common sense, gullible Nigerians. It’s merely a state of economic dissatisfaction that has no direct, I repeat direct, effect on your intelligence quotient. Most of the thinkers who propounded the philosophies that have become guiding principles even to the affluent emperors were, beyond redemptions. May God save us from us!

By Gimba Kakanda

@gimbakakanda (On Twitter)