By Longtong Ibrahim
Kaduna (Nigeria) – The Nigerian Government has said it will continue to fight corruption with a strict adherence to the rule of law.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed stated this on Friday when he visited The Nation newspaper headquarters as part of his ongoing media tour within the country.
Statement by the Minister’s special adviser Segun Adeyemi , noted that minister said that, the present administration has been accused of not respecting rule of law in its corruption fight but the fact that those who have been accused of corruption are having their day in court is a reflection of their respect for the rule of law.
Mohammed also said the government welcomes the criticism of its policies, programs and actions, and that it does not consider those who criticize it as either having been paid to do so or are harboring any animosity towards them; But he insisted that there are pseudo-analysts and hack writers whose stock in trade is to shoot down the policies of any government they do not like, adding that, taking on such people does not amount to an attack on the media.
”It beggars belief that anyone could accuse us of attacking or blackmailing the media. It is inconceivable that a government that has enjoyed tremendous support from the media will turn around to vilify the same media. My recent statement that pseudo-analysts and hack writers are out to shoot down the war against corruption, cannot and should not be interpreted to mean an attack on the media. That extrapolation will amount to a dangerous stretch,” the Minister said.
The Minister assured that the Federal Government will continue to work closely with the media in keeping the people educated and informed, as well as ensuring the participation of people in the process of governance.
While reiterating governments’ commitment in fighting corruption, he said, “This is because for our nation, it is a war of survival. Today, in our country, corruption is on first line charge. That’s how serious it is. The good news is that Nigeria is so fortunate to have at the helm of affairs, at this time, a leader of impeccable character, proven integrity, courage, dedication and love of country.
“We need the support of the media to ensure the success of this fight. As I have said at different fora, we consider the media as our partners.”
Mohammed said the government’s strategy in sensitizing Nigerians is to dwell on the cost of corruption, rather than talking about it in the abstract.
”When we release figures of the huge sums of money that have been looted, we did not do that to vilify anyone. Rather, our intention is to give Nigerians a different perspective to the anti-graft battle. That’s why we did not mention names, even though we have all the names,” he added.