Minister Seeks Promotion Of Intra-Africa Travel, Tourism

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed at the UNWTO conference in Lagos on Tuesday, November 15, 2022. Twitter/@FMICNigeria

 

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, says the World Tourism Organisation’s (UNWTO) global conference holding in Nigeria provides opportunity to discuss the promotion of intra-Africa travel and tourism.

Speaking on the second day of the three-day conference on Tuesday, Mohammed said he also expect the platform to help establish stronger collaboration among member states.

“This meeting provides an excellent opportunity to discuss ways and means to promote intra-Africa travels and tourism leveraging on our vast and unique resources and our number for mutual benefits of our member states.

“It is my expectation that this will also serve as a platform towards establishing stronger linkages and functional collaboration among member states in order to realise the potentials which the continent is endowed with,” the minister said.

He noted that travel and tourism which had become one of the most important sectors in the world economy prior to COVID-19 was hugely affected by the global pandemic leading to the loss of millions of jobs.

READ ALSO: UN World Tourism Organisation Holds Conference In Lagos

The minister, however, stated that the recovery of travel and tourism sector is well underway according to the latest UNWTO report.

“According to the latest UNWTO World Barometer, international tourism got back to 60% pre-pandemic levels between January and July 2022. It said international tourism arrivals almost tripled to from January to June 2022 compared to the safe period of 2021 which means the sector recovered almost 60% of pre-pandemic level,” he said.

He maintained that the stable recovery reflects strong pent-up demands for international travels as well as ease of lifting of travel restrictions as 86 countries have removed COVID-19 restrictions as off September 2022.

Many dignitaries including Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari were in attendance at the conference at the National Arts Theatre, Lagos on Tuesday.

UN World Tourism Organisation Holds Conference In Lagos

UNWTO is holding its conference at the National Arts Theatre Lagos from 14th to 16th November 2022.

 

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) is holding a global conference at the National Arts Theatre, in the Iganmu in Lagos State.

The conference which is geared towards development and growth of tourism culture and creative industries has Nigeria’s Minister of Information, Lai Muhammed in attendance.

The minister believed the event will foster synergy in the sector on a national scale, with international partners.

In line with promoting cultural heritage; one of the priority areas of the UNWTO Agenda for Africa 2030 -Tourism for Inclusive Growth, was spearheaded by the UNWTO Secretary-General and the programmatic priority of UNWTO on ‘Protect Our Heritage: Social, Cultural and Environmental Sustainability’.

The event which will end on Wednesday is expected to gather top-notch panelists and stakeholders to discuss linkages and opportunities between cultural tourism and the creative industries.

Delegates from 166 member countries to participate at are expected to participate in the conference.

READ ALSO: Osinbajo Attends 28th Nigerian Economic Summit In Abuja

National tourism and culture organisations, international organisations, destination management organisations and stakeholders from the public and private sectors are also expected at the conference.

No Plan To Ban Twitter Or Any Social Media Platform, Says FG

The Nigerian government banned Twitter last year but later rescinded the move.

 

The Federal Government says it has no plan to ban any social media platform but will not watch any medium throw the country into chaos.

Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed said this on Thursday while presenting the scorecard of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government from 2015 to 2022. At the press conference in Abuja, the minister noted that the Federal Government is monitoring Twitter under the new ownership of Elon Musk.

READ ALSO: Musk ‘Kills’ New Twitter Label Hours After Launch

“Permit me to quickly address an issue that has elicited a lot of inquiries from the media in recent times. Many of your colleagues have called to ask us what will become of our agreement with Twitter in view of the change in its ownership,” the minister explained.

“Many have asked for our reaction following reports that there has been a spike in fake news, disinformation, and hate speech since the micro-blogging site changed ownership.

“Many have even asked us if another ban is in the offing. Let me say this: We are closely monitoring the evolving developments at Twitter. It has never been our intention to ban any social media platform or stifle free speech. Not at all. What happened in the case of Twitter is well-known to all.

“Twitter became a platform of choice for those who want to destabilize Nigeria using fake news, disinformation, and hate speech. No nation will allow any social media platform to plunge it into anarchy. Definitely not Nigeria.

“But we have continued to engage positively with the different social media platforms, including Facebook, Google (owners of YouTube), and Twitter. We have no intention of banning any social media platform again. But we will also not sit by and allow any platform whatsoever to throw our nation into crisis.”

Nigeria last year banned Twitter and claimed it was used to spread fake news and hate speech. The move, was, however, rescinded in January after the social media platform agreed to the government’s terms.

Terrorism, Banditry Pose Major Threat To 2023 Polls, Census – El-Rufai

A file photo of Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai.

 

Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State says banditry and insurgency still pose a major threat to the 2023 general elections and population census if not nipped in the bud.

He made this known on Friday when he received the state’s quarterly security report presented by the state Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan on Friday.

According to the report, a total of 446 people were killed while 1,789 others were equally kidnapped by bandits across the state in the last six months.

The government also disclosed that 152 bandits were killed and 624 others arrested by troops in different parts of the state during the period under review.

READ ALSO: FG Won’t Be Stampeded By US, UK Terror Alerts – Lai Mohammed

On his part, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who was present at the presentation, insisted that the security situation in the country has tremendously improved, lamenting that the security alert issued by the United States embassy in Nigeria, has just just set the nation in panic mood and as well terrorised the citizens.

Kaduna, located in the North-West zone, has had its own share of hightened attacks by bandits and terrorists in the past five years, with several lives lost,  thousands kidnapped and means of livelihood disrupted.

US Terror Alert Has Set Nigeria On Panic Mode – Lai Mohammed

A file photo of the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed.

 

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has again faulted the United States over the recent terror alert, saying it has set Nigeria in panic mode.

On October 24, the US and the United Kingdom both warned of a possible terrorist attack in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). According to the warnings, the attack would be especially aimed at government buildings, places of worship, schools, and other centres where large crowds gather.

READ ALSO: Terror Alert: No Cause For Alarm, NSA Assures Nigerians

Speaking during the presentation of the state quarterly security report in Kaduna on Friday, the minister said the situation would make Nigerians want to run away but they rather stay to fight to ensure the country remains peaceful. According to him, despite the alert that set the country in a panic mode, Nigeria will come out of it. He insisted that the Federal Government will not swallow hook line and sinker any security alert from any other foreign country.

“What I have witnessed today is a validation of my position that the Nigerian military, working in concert with our government has what it takes to handle the security situation in Nigeria,” he said.

“And this brings me to the most topical issue today, which is the security alert sent by the United States of America as to the security situation in Nigeria, in Abuja, and in Nigeria as a whole.

“I want to say very categorically and without mincing words that, whatever the intention of this security alert or this travel advisory, what it has done is that it has terrorized our people and it has set the Nation in a panic mood.

“No doubt, the American government has a right to issue a travel advisory to its citizens, but that should not go to the extent of scaremongering.

“What the Federal Government has said is that, yes, this particular advisory was meant for the American citizens, but when it was leaked to the media, it caused a lot of panic to our people.”

US Issues Terror Alert In South Africa Days After Nigeria’s

South Africa flag.

 

Days after it issued a terrorist attack alert in Nigeria, the United States Government on Wednesday notified its citizens that insurgents are planning an attack on large gatherings in Johannesburg, South Africa.

“The U.S. government has received information that terrorists may be planning to conduct an attack targeting large gatherings of people at an unspecified location in the greater Sandton area of Johannesburg, South Africa, on 29 October 2022.

“There is no further information regarding the timing, method, or target of the potential attack. The U.S. Embassy has advised staff to avoid crowds of people and other large public gatherings in the greater Sandton area of Johannesburg during the weekend of 29-30 October 2022,” the alert on the embassy’s website read.

The US and Britain had on Sunday warned of possible terror attacks in Abuja, Nigeria’s political capital city, saying terrorists could be targeting government buildings, places of worship, schools and other centres.

The US further urged its citizens and Embassy staff in Abuja to leave Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory.

However, Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed said that the Federal Government won’t be stampeded by the terror advisories released by the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom.

According to him, Nigeria will not be stampeded by whatever any government decides to tell its people living in Abuja and parts of the country.

READ ALSO: NATO Warns Russia Against ‘Dirty Bomb’ Pretext

Disturbingly, a number of daring terrorist attacks have been recorded in Abuja in 2022 and other parts of Nigeria. On July 5, 2022, insurgents invaded the Kuje prison in Abuja and freed hundreds of inmates including hardened Boko Haram fighters.

The marauders also in the same month attacked the advance convoy of President Muhammadu Buhari near Dutsinma in Katsina State. The emboldened terrorists would later in August ambush and kill some members of the Presidential Guards Brigade in Abuja.

Similarly, on March 28, 2022, the ferocious terrorists attacked a Kaduna-Abuja train, killed scores, kidnapped many passengers and held them hostages for over six months before their eventual release earlier in October.

On June 5, 2022, terrorists also invaded a Catholic church in Owo, the hometown of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, in South-West Nigeria, killed over 40 worshippers and injured scores of church members.

FG Won’t Be Stampeded By US, UK Terror Alerts – Lai Mohammed

A file photo of the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed

 

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has said that the Federal Government won’t be stampeded by the terror advisories released by the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom.

According to him, Nigeria will not be stampeded by whatever any government decides to tell its people living in Abuja and parts of the country.

He made this known on Wednesday during a briefing after the Federal Executive Council meeting chaired by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Mohammed declared that the US acted within her rights to advise her citizens to go home but Nigeria won’t be stampeded by such warning or action.

He underscored that the government has in the last few months taken a firm handle of security, urging citizens to avoid liking or sharing materials that could incite panic.

[READ ALSO] Terror Alert: US Approves Exit Of Citizens, Embassy Staff From Nigeria

The US and Britain had on Sunday warned of possible terror attacks in Abuja, especially at government buildings, places of worship, schools and other centres where large crowds gather.

The US further urged its citizens and Embassy staff in Nigeria’s political capital to leave but the Department of States Services urged residents of Abuja and Nigerians in general to remain calm, saying security agencies are right on top of the situation.

Terror Alert: US Approves Exit Of Citizens, Embassy Staff From Nigeria

File photo: US Air Force photo, a Boeing KC-46A (L) /  US AIR FORCE / AFP

 

The United States Department of State has granted “authorized departure status” to American citizens and Embassy staff in Abuja over imminent terrorist attacks in Nigeria’s political capital.

In a notice on Tuesday evening, the US Department of States pledged to provide routine and emergency services to US citizens in Nigeria.

It advised them to “keep a low profile” and “take advantage of commercial transportation options” if they wish to depart Nigeria.

“On October 25, 2022, the Department authorized the departure of non-emergency U.S. government employees and family members due to the heightened risk of terrorist attacks.

“The U.S. Embassy Abuja continues to have limited ability to provide emergency assistance to U.S. citizens in Nigeria. The U.S. Consulate in Lagos is providing all routine and emergency services to U.S. citizens in Nigeria,” the advisory read.

The Department further urged American citizens who are out of Nigeria to “reconsider travel to Nigeria due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and maritime crime” as some areas have increased risk.

The US and Britain had on Sunday warned of possible terror attacks in Abuja, especially at government buildings, places of worship, schools and other centres where large crowds gather.

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed reportedly dismissed the terror alerts by the United Kingdom and the US, saying Nigeria is more safer than in May 2015 when President Muhammadu Buhari came into office.

The Department of States Services also urged residents of Abuja and Nigerians in general to remain calm, saying the security agencies are right on top of the situation.

“While advising that necessary precautions are taken by all and sundry, the populace is enjoined to remain alert and assist security agencies with useful information regarding threats and suspicious criminal acts around them,” a DSS statement partly read.

Also, the Nigeria Police Force in a statement said, “As part of its security strategy, the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, has ordered all 36 states Commissioners of Police, including that of the FCT, and the head of police tactical squads, to re-strategise the security management within their jurisdictions.

“He also has announced a counter-terrorism incident simulation exercise which will take place in the nation’s capital, tagged, “Operation Darkin Gaggawa.”

Disturbingly, a number of daring terrorist attacks have been recorded in Abuja in 2022 and other parts of the country. On July 5, 2022, insurgents invaded the Kuje prison in Abuja and freed hundreds of inmates including hardened Boko Haram fighters.

The marauders also in the same month attacked the advance convoy of the President near Dutsinma in Katsina State. The emboldened terrorists would later in August ambush and kill some members of the Presidential Guards Brigade in Abuja.

Similarly, on March 28, 2022, the ferocious terrorists attacked a Kaduna-Abuja train, killed scores, kidnapped many passengers and held them hostages for over six months before their eventual release earlier in October.

On June 5, 2022, terrorists also invaded a Catholic church in Owo, the hometown of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, killed over 40 worshippers and injured scores of members.

History Will Be Fair And Posterity Will Be Kind To Buhari – Lai Mohammed

A file photo of the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed.

 

The Minister of Communication and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has said that history will remember the Buhari-led administration for good. 

Alhaji Mohammed in his opening remark on Wednesday at the inaugural edition of the PMB administration scorecard 2015-2023, opined that the despite several attempts to play down the achievements of the present administration, the Buhari government has etched its name in gold within the annals of history.

“Despite attempts in some circles to downplay the achievements of
this Administration, I have no scintilla of doubt that history will be
fairer and posterity will be kind to us,” the minister stated.

He further asserted that the government in the coming days will showcase more of what has been achieved in under President Muhammadu Buhari, even as the administration winds down.

Below is a full statement of the minister’s presentation today.


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OPENING REMARKS BY THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND CULTURE, ALHAJI LAI MOHAMMED, AT THE INAUGURAL EDITION OF THE ”PMB ADMINISTRATION SCORECARD 2015-2023” SERIES IN ABUJA ON WEDNESDAY, OCT. 19TH 2022.

Honourable Minister of Works and Housing, distinguished ladies and
gentlemen, gentlemen of the press, good morning, and welcome to this
press conference

2. This is the first edition of our new series, entitled ‘PMB Administration Scorecard 2015-2023’, designed to massively showcase the achievements of the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration.

3. We have, over these past years, highlighted these achievements via Town Hall Meetings, Press Conferences, Radio and TV Documentaries, Media Appearances and Testimony Series. But as the Administration winds down, we believe it’s very important to consolidate our efforts at showcasing these achievements, hence we have designed a number of porgrammes, including the series starting today.

In the weeks ahead, we will be unveiling other programmes in this regard.

4. Gentlemen, in the words of President Muhammadu Buhari, this Administration has implemented high-impact projects across the length and breadth of the country that meet the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians. And this is in recognition of the importance of critical infrastructure in economic development and the quest of this Administration to leave a lasting legacy.

Today, you will hear about some of those projects in the area of critical infrastructure from the Honourable Minister of Works and Housing, who is kick-starting this series.

5. Subsequently, you will hear from more Ministers and other top government officials about the strides in their various ministries and sectors, including transportation, social investment programme, economy, communications and digital economy, power, petroleum industry, defence, health, agriculture, youth and sports, trade and investment, fight against corruption, water resources, aviation and justice, just to mention a few.

6. In the din of politicking, naysayers have attempted to play down the massive and unprecedented achievements of this Administration. Some presidential candidates have even released a poorly-done photocopy of this Administration’s achievements as their own Blueprint. But the series we are starting today will leave them breathless as we cover all the achievements in the various sectors. Because we have so much to showcase, the frequency of these briefings will be high and this will run through the remaining part of our
tenure.

7. Despite attempts in some circles to downplay the achievements of this Administration, I have no scintilla of doubt that history will be fairer and posterity will be kind to us. Those whose trips have been shortened and smoothened by good roads and bridges will remember those who built those roads and bridges; those who use the modern terminals at our airports will remember who built them. Those who ride on modern trains along Lagos-Ibadan, Abuja-Kaduna and Itakpe-Warri will not forget those who made that happen. And the 9.8 million school children who are fed daily, the 1 million youth that have been empowered as well as the 500,000 who are undergoing trainings under the N-Power and the 1,632,480 households that have been enrolled in the Conditional Cash Transfer Programme will not forget.

8. On this note, Honourable Minister, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, gentlemen of the press, it is my pleasure to invite the Honourable Minister of Works and Housing to make his presentation, after which we will take your questions. Honourable Minister please!

Lai Mohammed Asks Google To Block ‘Terrorist’ Groups On YouTube

A file photo of the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed.

 

The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, on Thursday asked Google to block terrorists organisations from YouTube.

He made the request when a team from Google visited him in Abuja.

“We want Google to look into how to tackle the use of private and unlisted YouTube channels and YouTube livestreams by proscribed groups and terrorist organizations,” the Minister said, according to a statement signed by his spokesperson, Segun Adeyemi.

“Channels and emails containing names of proscribed groups and their affiliates should not be allowed on Google platforms,” he said.

Mohammed, who noted that Google is a platform of choice for IPOB, a proscribed terrorist group, implored the tech giant to deny IPOB the use of its platform for its acts of violence and destabilization.

READ ALSO: Terrorists’ Threat To Kidnap Buhari Is Laughable – Lai Mohammed

He said Nigerians are among the most vibrant social media users in the world, with over 100 million Internet users in the country, and that internet platforms such as Google, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter and WhatsApp enable Nigerians to interact, share ideas……earn a living and participate in social and political affairs.

The Minister however observed that those platforms are also used by unscrupulous persons or groups for subversive and nefarious activities.

Mohammed said the Federal Nigerian Government recently proposed a “Code of Practice for Interactive Computer Service Platforms/ Internet Intermediaries” in an attempt to provide a framework for collaboratively protecting Nigerian users of Internet platforms.

“This code couldn’t have come at a better time, as the country prepares for general elections next year. We are committed to working with platforms like yours as well as the civil society, lawyers, media practitioners and other relevant stakeholders to ensure a responsible use of the Internet and to protect our people from the harmful effects of social media,” he said.

In his remarks,Google Regional Dir.,Sub-Saharan Africa,Govt. Affairs and Public Policy, Mr. Charles Murito,said the platform has introduced a prog. called “Trusted Flaggers” for citizens trained to track and engage with online contents in order to flag contents of serious concern

“As I mentioned earlier, we share the same sentiments, we share the same goals and objectives and we do not want our platform to be used for ill purposes,” he said.

On his part, Google Government Affairs and Public Policy Manager, Mr. Adewolu Adene, said “Equiano”, a subsea cable which recently berthed in Nigeria from Portugal, is aimed at enhancing connectivity and access to the internet as well as to drive down the cost of data,in order to create jobs and facilitate the transfer of knowledge.

He said through the Google News Initiative Challenge, 30 media platforms, with 5 from Nigeria, including the Dubawa fact-checking platform, would be awarded a $3.2 million grant in recognition of their innovative work in information dissemination.

Mr. Adene also pledged the readiness of Google to work with the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture to digitize the recently-repatriated artifacts in order to preserve and market them to a global audience through Google Arts and Culture.

BBC, Daily Trust To Face Consequences For Terrorism Reporting – Lai Mohammed

A file photo of the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed.

 

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, on Thursday said the BBC and Daily Trust will face consequences for glorifying terrorism in their reporting.

The BBC and Daily Trust have recently published documentaries containing interviews with bandit warlords.

According to Mr Mohammed, such reporting gives legitimacy to terrorism.

“Let me assure you, they will not get away with this naked glorification of terrorism and banditry in Nigeria,” Mohammad said.

READ ALSO: Terrorists’ Threat To Kidnap Buhari Is Laughable – Lai Mohammed

“When otherwise reputable platforms like BBC give their platform to terrorists, showing their faces as if they’re Nollywood stars . . . I want to assure them that they won’t get away with it, the appropriate sanctions will be meted.

“All I can say is that there is a regulatory body, the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and they are also aware of these incidents and are looking at which part of the broadcasting codes have been violated by both the BBC and the Daily Trust,” the minister said.

“But I can assure you that there will be consequences. For those who will argue that BBC is a foreign broadcaster and as such, it is not licensed by NBC, let me assure you, they will not get away with this naked glorification of terrorism and banditry in Nigeria.

“I have said it many times here that the media is the oxygen that the terrorists and bandits need to breathe. When other reputable platforms like BBC now give their platform to terrorists, showing their faces as if they are Nollywood stars, what does that means? I want to assure them they won’t get away with it. There are sanctions to be meted on both the BBC and the Daily Trust.”

Terrorists’ Threat To Kidnap Buhari Is Laughable – Lai Mohammed

A file photo of the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed.

 

The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, has described as laughable the threats by some terrorists to kidnap President Muhammadu Buhari.

He made the comment while speaking after the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting in Abuja.

“As to those who have issued threats to Mr President, I think it is more of propaganda than anything, it is laughable,” Mr Mohammed said on Wednesday.

“I want to reassure you that the government is up to the task of ensuring security. Security challenges will come anywhere in the world. The important thing is the fact that you do not lose focus and you continue to work assiduously to overcome it.

“I want to assure you, we are going to overcome.”

On July 24, a viral video was released by terrorists suspected to be members of Boko Haram.

In the video, the terrorists threatened to abduct the president and Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna state.