Criticise us, but don’t mock us, FG tells media

Image result for The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai MohammedThe Federal Government has said the war against corruption remains the toughest of all the three cardinal issues that it campaigned with before the conduct of the 2015 general elections.

The other two cardinal points are revamping of the economy and tackling insecurity.

It, therefore, called on the media to stop mocking the Federal Government over its declaration of war against corruption in the country.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated this on Monday in Abuja at the opening of the 68th General Assembly of the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria.

The theme of the conference was “The Media and the fight against corruption.”

Rather than mocking, Mohammed said the media should join hands with the government in its determination to stamp out corruption in the country.

He said the fight must not be seen as that of President Muhammadu Buhari alone, warning that corruption is capable of killing the country if not well tackled.

He said, “Without mincing words, let me use this platform to appeal directly to the media in general to join this administration in facing down the problem of corruption.

“As we have said times without number, this fight must not be seen as Buhari’s fight. It must not be seen as the Federal Government’s fight. It is our fight. If we fail to win by defeating corruption, it will simply kill us as a nation.

“This appeal to the media to join us in the fight against corruption is borne out of the fact that the Fourth Estate of the Realm cannot afford to sit on the fence, as far as this fight is concerned. We are not saying the media should not criticise us over our strategy for the fight, but they should stop mocking us.

“In recent times, it is not unusual to read such headlines as ‘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, not reporting! And this war is not Buhari’s war. It is our war.

“Make no mistake about it: Of all the three broad issues that we campaigned with – revamping the economy, fighting corruption and tackling insecurity, the toughest is the war against corruption.”

While saying that most Nigerians were direct beneficiaries of corruption, he said others were subsidised by sleaze.

He appealed to the media to join the war against corruption by writing strong editorials against it and also donating air time for jingles.

In his address, the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, commended the roles played by the media in the past for advocacy and crusading.

He, however, said, “Media practitioners that are supposed to help fight corruption have unfortunately been sucked into the cesspool of malfeasance.  One of the difficult tasks I faced soon after I took over as Acting Chairman of EFCC was having to investigate senior journalists including media owners that partook of the sharing of monies meant for arms to fight insurgency in the North-East.

“It was shocking that even the ones that have since been arraigned in court, still don’t feel they did anything wrong!”

 In his speech, the Chairman of BON, who is also Chairman of Channels Television, Mr. John Momoh, said that broadcasting stations were currently faced with many problems.