Opening Statement by The HMIC During visit to Leadership Newspaper Offices On Tuesday, Sept. 3 2019

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Permit me to start by thanking the management and staff of the Leadership Newspapers for hosting me and my team on this visit. Let me remind all of us here today that during the first term of this Administration, we visited this newspaper three times, perhaps the highest number of such visits.

2. Since returning to office on August 21st 2019, this is my first visit to any media organization, and it is not a coincidence that Leadership Newspaper is our first port of call as we begin this second tenure. Leadership Newspaper has always exhibited professionalism and responsibility in its operations.

3. This newspaper may not have always been on our side on all issues, and we really don’t expect the paper to be, but it has shown that it can be a trusted partner in the efforts to move Nigeria to the Next Level. For example, Leadership Newspaper is one of our media partners in our national campaign against fake news, as well as in many of our other campaigns and activities. For this, we thank the management and staff of this newspaper, and we look forward to more cooperation in the months ahead.

4. I want to use the opportunity of this visit to appeal to the media in general, and Leadership newspaper in particular, to continue to be patriotic and professional in their reportage on the issue of the $9.6 billion arbitration award to the Irish company Process and Industrial Development (P&ID), over the 20-year gas supply botched contract. Though some media outfits have clearly thrown overboard professionalism in their reporting, I make bold to say that largely, the Nigerian media has exhibited fairness and objectivity in reporting the issue. I commend this media for this.

5. On our part as government, we have kept Nigerians informed, through the media, of the facts of the case. As you are aware, we addressed a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, August 29th. The text of that press conference has been widely disseminated and has engendered a better understanding of the issues at stake in the so-called contract. We will continue to carry the media along as we fight this unreasonable award and protect our assets.

6. I will now brief you on the latest developments in this case before taking your questions…..