By Emmanuel Elebeke
ABUJA – The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, says Federal government has no plan to tele-guide the court on whether or not to re-arrest the leader of Indigenous people of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu for flouting his bail conditions.
This is even as the minister warned against the politicisation of the country’s recent emergence from recession.
The Minister, stated this when he received the Broadcast Media Editors on a courtesy visit in Abuja on Friday, adding that politicising the nation’s triumph over recession is a disservice to the people of Nigeria.
He said though, government has the right to go to court to lodge a complaint but the power to decide on revoking the bail lies solely on the court .
‘‘The matter is purely a judicial matter. Once a matter is in the court, it is for the court to say these condition I set for you, you have respected them or not.
‘‘We would not tele-guide the court on what to do or what not to do. As a government, we have a right to go to court and lodge a complaint that you gave a condition and the accused has obeyed or disobeyed the terms of the bail, then the decision will be left to court to decide. This is simple judicial overture which has no political overtone.’’
He described the action of naysayers as a display of bad politics, capable of dampening the good news of the exit from recession and urged them to encourage the government do more.
“To naysayers, I will say: This issue should not be politicised. An issue that affects the welfare of our citizens should not be toyed with. Let us all appreciate what this Administration has done in returning our economy to the path of positive growth and then support and encourage it to do more. ”Trying to downplay what has been achieved is bad politics.
I know this good news of our emergence from recession has hit the naysayers very hard. But they should recover quickly and embrace the good news. Sorry, but it can neither be denied nor wished away,” he said. He said now that Nigeria has emerged from recession, the Administration will sustain and build on what it did to get the economy out of recession through sustained policy interventions in various sectors. October 1 Quick Notice
On the October 1 quick notice, the minister reiterated President Mohammadu Buhari’s stands that every Nigerian is free to live in any part of Nigeria, insisting that such comments were empty threats.
‘‘Mr. President has assured Nigerians that everybody should feel free to live in any part of Nigeria and nobody is going to disturb you in where you live or work.
‘‘As to issue of hate speech, I don’t think government is going make fresh laws to check freedom of speech but will make us of existing would be applied on those bent on destabilising the nation. Terrorism Act is very clear and hate speech is a crime.
‘‘Those who are engaging in hate speech know what they are doing. It is a deliberate act to distract the government to monopolise the space and give the impression that the country is at war and look as if the government is not working.
‘‘As the spokesperson of government I know what to do to educate the people on what government is doing to alleviate their problems.’’
Swap of Chibok Girls with Boko Haram leaders
On whether government is regretting swapping the key Boko Haram leaders with the 82 Chibok Girls, Mohammed said the federal government is not regretting the swap.
‘‘Though it was a tough choice, but we said it loud and clear that whatever we need to do to ensure that the innocent girls are rejoined with their families, government will do so. And not just about the Chibok girls but everybody that has been displaced or kidnapped by Boko Haram leadership.’’
The Minister listed such measures as including the continued stimulation of local production of staples (e.g. rice), using initiatives like the Anchor’s borrowers programme and the Presidential Initiative on Fertilisers; continuous improvement of the business environment via PEBEC to attract investors; positive engagement in the Niger Delta that has resulted in improved oil production and ensuring stability in the Foreign Exchange Market.
He said the government would also continue the efforts to ensure that inflation rate, which has come down from 18 percent to 16 percent, is further brought down; continue to build-up of the foreign reserves, which has hit a 30-month high of $31.8 billion as at July 2017 and ensure the sustenance of the Social Intervention Programme such as N-power, which has created 200,000 jobs and is set to create 300,000 more this year; the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme that provides one meal a day to 3,065,000 pupils in 14 states and the Conditional Cash Transfer from which 30,000 households have benefited from the N,5000 monthly stipend.
The minister also gave the assurance that government will continue to improve on power generation, which has increased from 2,690MW to over 6,000MW . Earlier, the Convener of the Broadcast Media Editors, Mr. Tijjani Yunusa, pledged the partnership of the group with the Federal Government in its effort to develop the country.