The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has said that naysayers had taken to social media and spending huge amounts of money to distort the situation in Nigeria.
The minister stated this at a mini town hall meeting which he organised for members of staff of the Nigerian Embassy in Berlin, Germany and a cross-section of Nigerians residing in the European country.
Mr. Mohammed was in Berlin to attend a meeting of African Tourism Ministers, on the side-lines of the International Travel Trade Fair in the German capital.
A statement issued on the mini town hall meeting in Berlin was made available to journalists in Abuja by the Segun Adeyemi, the Special Adviser to the minister.
The minister said the naysayers, who were hoping to override the string of achievements by the present administration in the country, were spending huge amounts of money to spread fake news about Nigeria.
He said: “Contrary to the fake news being peddled in the social media by the naysayers, President Muhammadu Buhari is putting Nigeria back on its feet.
“That is why Nigerians at home and abroad must ensure they have access to authentic information.
“One way is to download the FGNiAPP on their hand-held devices. It is free.”
“The economy is on a steady growth, as attested to be by the latest report from the National Bureau of Statistics:
“The economy attracted 12.2 billion dollars in foreign investments in 2017, up from $5.38 billion in 2016.
“That represents 138 per cent increase.
‘’The economy further consolidated its recovery from recession with GDP growing by 1.92 per cent in Q4 2017, compared to 1.40 per cent in Q3 2017 and a contraction of -1.73 per cent in Q4 2016.
“This means the economy ended 2017 with a growth of 0.82 per cent compared to a
contraction of -1.58 per cent in 2016.
“GDP growth in Q4 2017 was driven by growth in crop production, crude production, and natural gas, metal ores, construction, transportation and storage, trade, electricity, and gas production.
“These are indications that the administration’s diversification effort is working.”
Mr. Mohammed blamed the incessant clashes between farmers and herdsmen on environmental, rather than ethnic or religious issues.
He noted that contrary to the narrative being pushed in certain quarters that gave ethnic and religious coloration to the clashes, they were caused by purely environmental issues.
Mr. Mohammed said whereas, Nigeria’s population in 1963 was about 48 million, ‘’it is now about 180 million with the country’s land mass remaining the same.’’
He said the implication was that, there were more people per square kilometre, adding that this development raised the chances of clashes over dwindling resources.
The minister also said that Lake Chad that which used to provide water and other resources to more than 30 million people in four countries, including Nigeria in the early 1960s had shrunk by about 90 per cent.
He said the lake which had shrunk from 25,000 square kilometres to 2,500 square kilometres, forced those affected to move south in search of resources.
“These and other reasons, like desertification, have altered the resource landscape, heightened competition for dwindling resources and raised the possibility of clashes between farmers and herders.”
Mr. Mohammed, who assured of the Federal Government’s commitment to finding lasting solution to the clashes, noted that the establishment of ranches was one sure way of reducing such clashes.
He, however, said that in resolving the crisis, both the farmers and the herders must be willing to shift slightly from their positions grounded in their way of life over centuries.
For his part, Nigeria’s Ambassador to Germany, Yusuf Tuggar, commended the patriotism and dedication of the Nigerians in Diaspora, especially those in Germany.
“There is a burgeoning Nigerian community (in Germany), committed to
the prosperity of Nigeria.
“They are well in tune with the policies of the Nigerian government and they are accomplished men and women and worthy ambassadors,” he said.
In their comments, some leaders of the Nigerian Diaspora commended the government for the progress being made in lifting up the country.
They stressed the need to step up efforts to ensure the security of life and property in order to attract more foreign investors to the country.
A naysayer is a person who says something will not or is not possible, or one who is sceptical or cynical about something. (NAN)