The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, says President Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration is not averse to media criticism but it should be done, “objectively and factually”.
The Minister stated this on Thursday in Abuja when he received officials of International Press Institute on a courtesy visit to his office.
Mohammed said that the Administration had been the most media tolerant one but had also “received so many punches from the media”.
He reiterated the commitment of the government not to trample on freedom of the press, saying “no democracy can thrive without free press”.
He said: “The Media have nothing to fear, but on the contrary we are the one that do not have our eyes closed
“We take so many punches from the media but we do not say they should not criticise us but it should be done based on facts and objectively.”
Specifically, the minister said that in assessing the performances of the administration, it should be done in context of what it inherited in 2015 when they assumed power.
He said that the government was delivering in its electoral promises in the three key areas of revamping the economy, tackling insecurity and fighting corruption.
Mohammed said the administration had successfully brought down inflation; take the country out of recession and diversifying the economy away from dependence on oil.
The minister said that the agricultural policies of the government were yielding fruits in terms employment generation and self-sufficiency in staples like rice.
He said the home-Grown School Feeding Programme had created jobs for 61,352 cooks, and it is providing 6.4million school children in 33,981 schools across 20 states with one meal a day.
Mohammed said the administration inherited power generation of 2690 MW even when over 16 billion dollar had been spent on power reforms.
He said with the efforts of the government, power generation has increased to 7,000 megawatts and the administration is embarking on a massive infrastructural renewal.
Mohammed said that Boko Haram had been massively degraded and the suicide attacks by the hitherto emboldened group were act of defeat and cowardice.
The minister assured the delegation of the government support towards a successful hosting of the 2018 IPI World Annual Conference in Nigeria in June.
In a remark, Dr Tony Iredia, a former Director-General of NTA, said that the position of the Minister was a call on them to be balanced and objective.
Iredia, a member of the delegation, said that the media have the responsibility to be factual and objective in the discharged of their duties.
He said: “We expect our colleagues to take a cue from this and give the administration the credit it deserves.”
The Executive Director of IPI, Barbara Trionfi, commended the efforts of the Nigerian government towards the promotion of the safety of journalists.
She said the quality of press freedom could only be achieved with the cooperation and understanding of the government of any country.
Trionfi thanked the minister for his support to making the Abuja Conference a reality, adding that it would be an opportunity to develop closer ties with leading journalists in the country.
The leader of the delegation and the Chairman of IPI in Nigeria, Alhaji Kabir Yusuf, assured the delegation of successful hosting of the conference, stressing that the organising committee had been working round the clock.