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LAI MOHAMMED: ‘I don’t tell lies’

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We're not sure yet who’ll sign 2017 budget, Minister Lai says

Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, has acknowledged the mis-givings of many who perceive his claims about government actions and initiatives as half truths.

He denied any deliberate attempt to lie to Nigerians in the course of his official assignments and said that the long-held view of him was simply a mindset of those who did.

“People just have a mindset that whatever Lai Mohammed says cannot be true, but nobody has ever come out to say that I said `Y’ and it was `Z’ that happened.

“For me, I will remain focused because it is a price you pay for serving your country,” he said.

The Minister’s comments were made while fielding questions from media men on the occasion of his visit to Daar Communications Plc on Friday in Abuja.

Speaking further, he said, “I also see this as a deliberate strategy to whittle me down, but I must remain focused and will not be distracted.

Read also: With Buhari away, Saraki, Dogara frequent Villa to see Osinbajo

“I believe sincerely that the last election was fought very bitterly and I was largely the face of the party and I kept asking them to fight me on facts, not on emotions.

“Give me one thing that I have said which is not true.
“There is a Yoruba proverb that says that you can only wake up somebody who is sleeping, you cannot wake up a fellow who is pretending to fall asleep.”

Concerned about the growing influence of social media, the Minister advised on the need for professionalism.

“About 50 per cent of what we read in the social media is not true but unfortunately even when it is not credible, it goes viral and people believe the fake stories.

“My greatest problem and worry is with the traditional media, which are latching on the same fake news and disinformation.

“I am worried because it affects the credibility of the media itself and once the media is no longer believed by the people, then it has serious consequences on the society,’’ he said.

“What happened last week is quite worrisome as Mr President left for vacation.

“Within 12 hours of leaving the country, news that he has died went viral, later it changed to that he was critically ill.

“This actually heated the polity and even the rebuttal of the spokespersons to the President and myself, did little to dampen the rumour.”

Lai Mohammed was received at Daar headquarters by Executive Chairman of DAAR Communication, Raymond Dokpesi Jnr. who, in his response, said that the issue raised by the minister was very pertinent to media and journalism generally.

“The emergence of fake news driven primarily by social media is indeed a global phenomenon.

“It behoves on us the traditional media to reaffirm our commitment to the highest ethic and standard of journalism, to investigate and fact-check stories before we go to press.

“You are our own minister. After the whole cycle of electioneering, there must be the need to build bridges and move from political mood to governance mood,’’ he said..

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  1. John henry

    February 4, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    I was worried coming across a statement credited to you on one of the social media carrying your picture saying; “Nigeria is now better than it was 2 years ago during GEJ”.
    If despite the general hardship (poverty, hunger, inflation, unprecedented currency depreciation etc) and economic difficulties Nigerians are passing through, you could come out to make such comparative statement, then Nigerians might be right to call you whatever name they are calling you. As a Minister you know than I that performance is measurable. You should bear it in mind that being a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria does not make you better in terms of personal sense of judgement than most Nigerians. You might have the right and privileges to say what you like rhetorically but the rational Nigerians also have right to crosscheck facts and identify truths from deceiption.
    I still have problem identitying performance indicator(s) that you used to put Buhari’s APC ahead of GEJ’s PDP government of last 2 yrs.
    The last time I checked I came up with these comparative performance facts to unauthentic your claim;
    1. Currency: GEJ came in when $1 was about N150 and after 6 yrs of managing the economy despite the corruption, he left when $1 was N186. After less than 2 yrs of your ecomics management, now $1= N500.
    2. GEJ left when 1 litre was N96 but less than 2 yrs it’s now N145.
    3. GEJ left when 1 bag of rice was about N8, 000 but now it’s around N22, 000
    4. GEJ left when 1 bag of maize was between N3, 500 and N4,000 but now it’s between N14, 000 and N15, 000.
    5. GEJ left when the inflation was at a single digit, but now it almost at 20%
    6. Just 2 yrs after GEJ left State governments are no longer paying salaries and pension
    7. Within the period of less than 2 yrs, unemployment rate has reach unprecedented all-time high as even banks are entrenching workers.
    8. Less than 2 yrs, Nigerians for the first time in history are stealing pots of foods from fire as a result of hunger.
    9. GEJ left the economy with two FOREX rates (official rate and BDC rate), but less than 2 yrs there are about 5 different FOREX rates operational in Nigeria.
    10. GEJ left when appointments by government reflect Federal Character (for instance, GEJ is from south south and appointed INEC chairman from Kano of Northern part) to ensure transparency, but less than 2 yrs Buhari appointed a woman who was his former close aide as Acting chairman and later appointed his brother as INEC chairman; the president appointed his retired Daura brother as the head of DSS thereby making DSS looking like a private police of Mr. President; his COS is also his brother; all sensitive appointments were given to his people making Nigeria looking like his family enterprise.
    11. GEJ left government Institutional structure intact but less than 2 yrs Customs has to be headed by an outsider whereby depriving the top growing officers from enjoying the position. DSS too has growing top officers who are entitled to be promoted to the position of DG, but no body was good enough from within.
    12. Do we need to mention the phenomenon of Fulani killer herdsmen slaughter non hausa/fulani, burn homes and farms, carrying AK 47 about with audacity? That anyone who resists death and dare to talk against their killing and destructive activities incurs the wrath of the DSS.
    It will be bore the readers with details which they already have.
    The irony now is that Nigerians are begging buhari’s APC government to pleeeeeessssss return them back to the corrupt state of the economy as was handed over to him or to them! Nigerians are demanding that the President comes out to explain his motivation for contesting for Presidency 4 times! What makes him cry at a point when he could get it? Was it a case of “he was not done with inflicting pains on Nigeria in 1984 before the IBB coup and he wanted to return back and complete it now? Or is he punishing Nigeria for the purported coup offences committed by IBB? Or he just wanted to make history by becoming president even without the know-how on the contemporary economics management and governance? Or he has some hidden agenda to execute and wouldn’t care about whatever is the economy consequences?
    The only way out for Nigerians as usual is it go back to God in prayers for a way out this mess.
    Is his honorable Minister not aware that he is serving in a lawless government that has no respect for the rules of law? I beg, Mr honourable Minister, it’s a hefty task to proof to Nigerians that you don’t lie!

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