The Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, has appealed to the media to stop mocking the Federal Government and support the war against corruption.
Mr Mohammed made the appeal in Abuja on Monday at the 68th General Assembly where he was the special guest of honour.
“Without mincing words, let me use this platform to appeal directly to the media, in general, to join this administration in facing the problem of corruption,” he said.
“As we have said times without number, this fight must not be seen as Buhari’s fight alone. It must not be seen as the Federal Government’s fight; it is our fight.”
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Mr Mohammed told guests at the event that while it is okay for the media to criticise the strategy of the government, some of the headlines published or broadcast recently mocked the government.
He said, “This appeal to the media to join us in the fight against corruption is born out of the fact that the 4th Estate of the Realm cannot afford to sit on the fence as far as this fight is concerned.
“We are not saying that the media should not criticize us over our strategy for the fight but it should stop mocking us.
“In recent times, it is not unusual to read such headlines ‘Buhari’s Government Losing Anti-Corruption War’, ‘Buhari’s Anti-Corruption War Is Failing’, ‘Arewa Youths Knock President Buhari over failing anti-corruption war’. This is sheer mockery.”
Many of the country’s problems have been blamed on corruption and Mr Mohammed believes it is an issue that has to be tackled decisively or it will destroy the country.
“If we fail to win by defeating corruption, it will simply overwhelm us as a nation,” he warned.
President Buhari had been elected into office on the back of promises that he would fight corruption, tackle insecurity and revamp Nigeria’s economy, among others.
More than two years after the birth of the administration, Mr Mohammed said the toughest issue it has faced is the war against corruption.
“Why? Because fighting corruption anywhere in the world is like walking a lonely road,” he said. “While many will join hands with you to tackle insecurity or to revamp the economy, you are on your on when you take on corruption.”
According to Mr Mohammed, there is serious resistance to the war against corruption because many Nigerians were beneficiaries of corruption.
“Now that the gravy train of corruption is fast derailing, many are finding it hard to come to terms with it. That is the origin of the bring back corruption campaign being carried out by certain elements in our society,” he said.
Considering the resistance to the war against corruption, the minister believes the chances of victory are slimmer without the support of the media.
He said, “When the media is not fully on board, the fight against corruption becomes tougher. When the media sits on every setback we suffer prosecuting this war, they give succor to the corrupt. When the media falls for the distraction tactics of those who are mortally afraid of this war, they weaken the battle.”