The Nigerian Parliament has pledged more support for the activities of the countries Ministry of Information, considering the strategic importance and enormous activities of the ministry.
The Chairman of the House of Representatives committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values, Mr. Olusegun Odebunmi said this when he led his committee on an oversight function to the Ministry.
The lawmakers decried the incomplete release of budgeted resources as well as inadequate allocation for the activities of the Ministry which they consider as very crucial to the country.
Mr. Odebunmi suggested that the committee and the ministry’s top officials would sort the issues out with the budget office as well as other relevant agencies in that regard.
Even though the lawmakers acknowledged the financial challenges facing the government, they still ”believed something positive can be done for better outcome.”
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed appreciated the National Assembly for passing the 2020 budget before the end of December 2019 and also thanked the committee members for their unflinching support all the time.
He gave a brief rundown of some of the Ministry’s activities for year 2019 as Town Hall meetings, opinion poll survey, and facilitation of media appearances for some cabinet Ministers, International Media engagement, and meeting with foreign Think Tanks among others.
Mohammed said the ministry had about N 1,560,000,000 appropriated for capital projects in 2019 but about N 769,000,000 was meant for 15 major projects however N432,209,808 was released.
He briefed the lawmakers more about the international, media and think tanks dimensions of the Ministry’s operations.
“We often engaged international media and Think tanks to say our side of the story especially stories that make the rounds in the international media arena. Most of these writers or media outlets abroad have not even been to Nigeria before, they just sit over there and write based on what materials their researches provides for them.
”We do that because we understand that perception matters a great deal and plays a key role. We also strongly believe those engagements have been helping Nigeria a lot,” the Minister explained.
Mohammed gave a few examples of such interventions; for instance the case of the P&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;ID law suit as well as the recent misleading perception that made the rounds in the United States that Christians were being persecuted and killed in Nigeria among several other damaging instances.
He said when his team intervened, the stories were given better and correct perspectives which naturally changed the earlier perception that was one sided.
“Some of these foreign government have a way of believing in their media back home, so whatever they write about your country is likely to be believed and also decisions and policies ca be shaped by the Think Tanks,” the Minister added.
Mohammed was at the meeting alongside the Permanent Secretary, Grace Gekpe and other top officials of the Ministry.
Source: Voice of Nigeria