REMARKS BY THE HON. MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND CULTURE, ALHAJI LAI MOHAMMED, DURING THE VISIT OF MEMBERS OF THE NIGERIANS IN DIASPORA ORGANIZATION (NIDO), UK CHAPTER, IN ABUJA ON TUESDAY, 26 JULY 2021
Let me formally welcome the members of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organization (NIDO), UK Chapter. Thank you for deeming it fit to visit us, as part of the activities marking the Initiative tagged ‘A Week in & For Nigeria’ during this month of July.
2. I want to commend your patriotism and steadfastness, especially for this Initiative, which is aimed at shining a positive light on Nigeria, celebrating the country and contributing towards a better Nigeria. This is what patriots do, not badmouthing their country around the world.
3. The Buhari Administration considers Nigerians in Diaspora as critical stakeholders in the Nigerian project, hence has done the unprecedented by establishing the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), which has been doing a good job in coordinating and providing an organized system of collaborations of Nigerians in Diaspora. Thanks to the commission, issues affecting Nigerians in Diaspora have been receiving prompt attention. NIDCOM has also ensured that Nigerian in Diaspora are well informed about the activities of the government. It is therefore alarming and disappointing that some Nigerians in Diaspora still rely on platforms that peddle fake news and misinformation about Nigeria.
4. Also, each time Mr. President travels outside the country, he has made the engagement with Nigerians in his host country a regular affair, just as we at the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture have always ensured that we interact with Nigerians when we travel outside the country for official purposes. Unfortunately, the avoidable division among Nigerians in Diaspora in some countries has hampered such engagements. But we will not relent in seeking out and engaging with patriotic Nigerians in Diaspora.
5. It is in recognition of the relevance of Nigerians in Diaspora that the secessionist groups that are campaigning around the world for their causes have identified and are effectively using some of them (Nigerians in Diaspora) to propagate their fake narratives about the country, in addition to relying on their financial contributions to fund their nefarious activities. This is disheartening.
6. I therefore want to use this opportunity to appeal to NIDO to seize the initiative from those who are bent on painting Nigeria bad in the comity of nations. Yes, we have challenges, especially in the area of insecurity. But this Administration has not only acknowledged these challenges, it is earnestly tackling them. I make bold to say that no government in the history of this country has done so much with so little. The Administration came in at a time that the country has lost one third of its revenue, due to a drastic crash in oil prices. Despite that, the Administration has recorded tremendous achievements in the area of infrastructure – roads, rail, power, housing, dams, etc. -, Agriculture, where the country is closer than ever to achieving self-sufficiency in major staples, the fight against corruption, which the Administration is prosecuting in an institutionalized manner as well as the revamping of the economy, especially through diversification.
7. We at the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture have continued to showcase the achievements of this Administration, To mark the second anniversary of the Administration’s second term, we produced a three-part documentary that showcased the achievements in the various sectors, which we ran on television stations across the country. We have now broken the documentary into one-minute clips that are currently running on television stations and social media platforms. We are ready to make these clips available to you.
8. Instead of contributing their own quota to these efforts, all you hear from a section of Nigerians in Diaspora and their allies back home are fake narratives and untrue allegations of religious persecution, political marginalization, human rights abuses, etc.
These are baseless and false. As an organized and well connected group, I implore NIDO to leverage its contacts in government circles,parliamentary groups and global think tanks in world capitals to help change the narrative and sweep the carpet off the feet of secessionist groups, insurgents and anarchists who are bent on pushing false narratives to portray Nigeria in bad light. I have no doubt that you will take this call seriously and do everything in your power to change the narrative for the better.
9. On our part as government, we are currently re-engineering and ramping up our diplomatic efforts to counter and reverse the narrative, in addition to countering pervasive anti-government propaganda.
10. Once again, I thank you, members of the UK Chapter of NIDO, and congratulate you for your patriotic Initiative – A week in Nigeria & For Nigeria.
11. I thank you all for your kind attention