Friday, March 29, 2019

Herdsmen/Farmers’ Clashes Has Denied Nigeria Foreign Loans – Lai Mohammed

The Federal Government on Thursday lamented the alleged misrepresentation of the clashes between herdsmen and farmers by the foreign media, saying it was forced to lobby them to manage the bad press.

“This government has been denied loans because of the misinformation that have been spread out there,” he said.

Mohammed, while explaining the activities of the ministry as part of his defence of the 2019 budget proposed by it, said the Federal Government had to send delegations to the United Kingdom and the United States to execute media campaigns.

The minister was asked to explain the engagement of the foreign media and PR lobby consultancy contracts awarded by the Federal Government.

He said, “The world has become a global village and what happens in Nigeria today reverberates all over the world. And we, in the administration, face a lot of challenges, especially from the comments of the foreign media, from the sometimes hostile positions of foreign governments, even foreign parliaments.

So, it is the duty of the Ministry of Information to regularly lobby and address international media in the countries.

“I remember that in 2018 we made two trips to the UK and two trips to the US, and these two trips helped tremendously in actually helping the people in the Diaspora and foreign governments to understand the real dynamics of the herdsmen/farmers clashes.

“Until we got there, the impression held by many of them was that the thing was Christians/Muslims, North/South and that time we had to book for interviews with CNN, BBC, Aljazeera, Reuters and AFP.

I think it is an important part of governance so that if you cannot mould their opinions, at least it can give them the opportunity of hearing our own side of the story.”

Mohammed called out some foreign media organisations for their alleged “erroneous” editorials on the security crisis.

“I am sure you have all noticed a lot of very erroneous editorials that have been carried by some highly respected pens like the New York Times, Boston Globe, which do not actually represent the true situation in Nigeria. So, we go there, not just for government but to give the correct impression about what goes on in this government,” he said.

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