If we had to rank the injustices Nigerians have had to endure during President Buhari’s government, we would choose the blatant lack of regard for our collective intelligence as the primary crime. Successive party spokespersons have come on social media and international television and lied, not just to us Nigerians, but to the rest of the world on the crimes committed by the government, the monies embezzled and general incompetence of the country’s leadership. Front and centre in this campaign of misinformation is Professor Lai Mohammed, the country’s minister for information.
Just last week, a video interview the country’s minister for information had with journalist Tim Sebastian of interview show Conflict Zone. One would think that Mohammed would be able to tell the difference between local news media, largely gagged by state sanctioned punishment and international media but Professor Lai Mohammed told what can only be described as ‘blatant lies’ refuting a number of disturbing events happening in the country, including the Social Media and Hate Speech Bills that he had been quoted on supporting. The incredulous reactions to Mohammed’s lies tells us all we need to know about how brazen the world sees our leadership’s commitment is to perpetuating falsehoods.
As though that wasn’t bad enough, yesterday, Professor Lai Mohammed was quoted defending a request for 500 million dollars to revamp the National Television Authority (NTA), the country’s state sanctioned television network. NTA has been largely considered a propaganda tool of the government and largely ignored by everyone who takes the protection of our democracy seriously. The 500 million dollars Professor Lai Mohammed is proposing to revamp the NTA and make it a serious contender comparable to the CNN is laughable at best if the government is unwilling to reform the civil service and remove bloated salaries.
These kind of bald faced propositions with no execution plans is why Nigerians are disillusioned with this government and tired of the people paid to communicate their plans and projects to a skeptical audience. We all deserve better.