Nigeria refutes detaining Journalist

Solomon Chung, Abuja

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The Nigerian government has refuted claims by the Committee To Protect Journalists, CPJ that a Nigerian journalist has been detained by the authorities.

Minister of Information and Culture Mr Lai Mohammed on Friday at the International Press Institutes World Congress gala night said contrary to the report by the CPJ, no journalist is in detention in Nigeria.

The Minister said one Clement Abiri, who is being referred to as a journalist, was not.

“He does not belong to any chapel of the Nigerian Union of Journalists. He was arrested for pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft, including militant activities in the Niger Delta,” he said.

Mohammed said the media in Nigeria has nothing to fear from this Administration, and that – if anything – the government was the one to fear the media.

“We are proud that the Nigerian media is one of the most vibrant in the world.

​“We are also proud of the role that the Nigerian media has played in our long march to democratic governance and this administration will continue to provide the enabling environment for journalists to function unmolested.”

The Minister reaffirmed that the present Administration was delivering on all the campaign on three cardinal programmes: Fight Corruption, tackle insecurity and revamp the economy .

​“We have defeated Boko Haram and it is also a fact that corruption in Nigeria is fast becoming a taboo. It is no longer being celebrated,” he explained.

The Minister said apart from prosecution of those who have looted the public treasury there are policies and strategies in place to curtail the act of corruption before it even occurs.

“Recall that two former state governors were recently jailed for corruption – the Administration has also embarked on institutional reforms to curb corruption. The diligent implementation of the Treasury Singles Account (TSA) has plugged the loopholes being exploited to steal public funds.

The Administration has established an Efficiency Unit to monitor its agencies and ensure all expenditures are necessary and represent the best possible value for money. Our Whistle-Blower Policy has yielded massive dividends: 13.8 billion Naira from tax evaders, as well as 7.8 billion Naira, 378 million dollars and 27,800 pounds in recoveries from public officials targeted by whistleblowers.”

Mohammed said the Nigerian economy is back on the path of growth, after the recession of 2016-17.

According to him, the indices are all looking up. The economy grew 1.95 per cent in Q1 2018; Foreign reserves are up from 25 billion dollars to around 48 billion dollars, the highest in five years; Inflation is down for the 16 consecutive months, from 18.7 per cent to about 11.6 per cent presently and Nigeria’s Stock.

“Again the same Nigerian stock Market ended 2017 as one of the best performing in the world, with returns of about 40 per cent, he said.

The Minister then urged journalists to report issues factually and in the right context, as according to him, doing that will be good journalism that will facilitate the citizens’ decision-making process.

The 67th IPI world congress has the theme “Why Good Journalism Matters”

Confidence Okwuchi