The federal government has slammed critics of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration for allegedly distorting facts and whittling the achievements of the administration.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, made the remarks when he spoke with journalists in New York after a tour of major media houses and think-tank in the U.S.
Mr Mohammed visited the CNN, New York Times, Voice of America, Washington Post, Washington Times; Al Jazeera, Reuters, Wall Street Journal, and the Atlantic Council and the Foreign Relations Council.
“This trip became important because of the distortion that has been the major past time of a lot of critics and this distortion has sought to whittle the administration’s strive in fighting against insecurity, in revamping the economy and in fighting corruption.
“And it became very important to give this information to the foreign media so that in their editorials, in their comments and when they are writing stories, they would be doing so from the context of the actualities on ground.
“I’m happy to say that many of them have been quite impressed about the achievements of the administration. The think-tanks were very attentive and they took on board a lot of interest and comments”.
According to him, when the federal government says it has actually defeated Boko Haram, that is true because it is from the context of what it was and what it is.
“The important thing is that we made them understand that the unfortunate incident of kidnap of the Dapchi schoolgirls and the recent suicide bombings are not reflective of actually the success of the government in fighting Boko Harm.
“When the government says Boko Haram is defeated, it is from the context of what it was when it came in and what we are today.
“People have forgotten that less than three or four years ago, people in Abuja, the Capital City of Nigeria, could not sleep with their two eyes closed.
“That four years ago, the insurgents used to stroll into Abuja at will and no building was sacred to them. I mean they were so bold they attacked the Force Headquarters.
“They attacked the UN headquarters, they attacked newspapers head office, Nyanya Motor Park, was attacked twice and states and towns like Suleja, Kano, Sokoto, Kogi, Borno, were game for them”.
He recalled that up till 2015, 20 out of the 27 local governments in Borno State were under the effective occupation of Boko Haram.
“When we entered Bama in 2015, it was as if we were either in Cairo, Algeria or any of these Arab countries because all the road signs were in Arabic.
“So when we say we have defeated Boko Haram, it is precisely what we mean. Today, night life has returned to Maiduguri, weekly football leagues are being played in Maiduguri, schools have been reopened, roads have been reopened.
“It was a far cry from when we went in 2015 because between Bama and Maiduguri where we went to, there was no singular vehicle on the road.”
On economy, Mr Mohammed said within two quarters, Nigeria came out of recession and ever since, the growth had been phenomenal in terms of foreign exchange which doubled from 23 billion dollars to 47 billion dollars.
“We feed 7.5 million people every day and in the process, creating jobs across the value chain – thousands of cooks in 24 states have been employed.
“Again, our N-Power programme, they’ve never seen this kind of thing in Nigeria before where in one fell sweep, you employed 200,000 university unemployed graduate and another 200,000 have been screened and waiting to start work.
“Our government enterprise and empowerment programme has given out loans to about 200,000 cooperatives and individuals and our conditional cash transfer, today, has fed over 200,000 families.
“So these are the kinds of things we have done at a time when the price of crude oil was not as high as it was in 2011.
“So we have come to tell the world and I’m glad that they’ve been very well received. We were able to give the correct perspective of what the administration has been able to achieve.”
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