Madrid – The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed says there is no imminent war or crisis in Nigeria and the country is in competent hands under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Minister stated this during an interactive session with a cross section of Nigerian community and members of staff of the Nigerian Embassy in Madrid, Spain.
The Minister is in Madrid for the signing of Agreement between Nigeria and the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) on the hosting of Conference of UNWTO Commission for Africa.
The Conference of the African Ministers of Tourism and global tourism players with the theme “Tourism Statistics, a Catalyst for Development” is scheduled for June 4 to June 6 in Abuja.
Mohammed said that contrary to negative narratives being read in the social media and the internet, there was “absolutely no cause for alarm and the nation is not in any form of imminent war”.
He said, specifically, that the challenge of herders and farmers clashes in the country was neither ethnic nor religious but as a result of global environmental and economic realities.
Mohammed stressed that the development was not new to the country and the government was committed to addressing the challenge.
He said some people were, however, for their personal agenda and gains, trying to bring in religious and ethnic sentiments to what was happening.
“Do not be surprised that the naysayers have invested billions of Naira to promote instability, ethic wrangling and misunderstanding.
“But I want you to put your minds at rest that there is no war in Nigeria, there is no imminent war, there is no ethnic battle or religious conflict
“The Nigeria I left behind is a country where people, irrespective of where they come from, live together in harmony and government is alive to its responsibilities.
“We are not saying that there are no problems at all in Nigeria, there is no country where there is no problem including Spain here.
“A couple of month ago, we know that separatism raised its ugly head here in Spain and the whole world watched the development.
“There is nothing new happening in our country, it is a reflection of our plural values and we will continue to address them,” he said.
Mohammed said that the Administration was on the right path delivering on its electoral promises especially in revamping the economy, tackling insecurity and fighting corruption.
He said that in assessing the performance of the Administration people should do so in the context of what it inherited in 2015 and where the country is now.
“Today our foreign reserves has gone up from 24 billion dollars to 42 billion dollars and this is the highest level in the last four years.
“Inflation has been brought down in the last months.
“Before we came, Treasury Single Account (TSA) was not implemenred and people put money in different accounts, we were losing about N108 billion to bank charges
“Today, I am glad to say that with the implementation of TSA, we save monthly N24 billion from charges and about N120 billion from ghost workers,” he said.
The Minister said that because of the discipline of the administration, it got the country out of recession and the Nigeria stock market had been adjudged one of the best performing in the world.
The minister disclosed that as at December last year, the Federal Government has given about N1.9 trillion as bail out to states.
He said many of the states had been so poorly managed that they could not pay the salaries of their workers which necessitated the intervention of the federal government.
The Minister told the meeting that the Administration’ agricultural revolution is moving Nigeria close to self-sufficiency in many staples, especially 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 dministration’s 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.
He said the group leader, Abubakar Shekau had to disguise as a woman to escape when the heat was too much for him from the military in Sambisa.
Fielding questions from the audience, the Minister assured that the government would address issues of Diaspora voting, illegal deportation of Nigerians among others.
The host of the event and the new Nigeria Ambassador to Spain, Mrs Susan Folarin thanked the Minister and his entourage for the visit and holding the interactive session. (NAN)