Lai Mohammed to detractors: Buhari will not resign, says ‘$500m loan not for NTA alone’

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The Federal Government says President Muhammadu Buhari will not resign because he has the overwhelming mandate of Nigerians to preside over the affairs of the country until the expiration of his tenure in May, 2023.

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated this at a media briefing in Abuja,

Mohammed was reacting to “diversionary statements by some commentators , especially political and religious leaders” calling for Buhari’s resignation over purported state of insecurity.

The minister conceded that the country was facing security challenges but they were being tackled headlong.

“There have been some red herrings in recent times, including those calling for the resignation of Mr President or the sack of the security chiefs.

“I just want to say that the government, which has provided and continues to provide the military and the security agencies with the wherewithal, believes in their ability to tackle insecurity.

“These challenges will be successfully tackled. I will, however, advise all commentators, especially political and religious leaders, to be very careful at this time not to aggravate the situation with incendiary comments.

“These are comments that cash in on our religious, ethnic and political fault lines to further divide us,” he said.

Mohammed stressed that  the kind of comments that have been attributed to some leaders, especially religious leaders, are incendiary and reckless.

“Leaders should be part of solutions to problems, rather than aggravating situations. To those asking Mr. President to resign,

“I wish to say this: Mr President will not resign. He has the overwhelming mandate of Nigerians to preside over the affairs of the country till the expiration of his tenure in May 2023,” he said.
Mohammed also clarified that the $500 million loan being sought from China is not for the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) alone.

The minister said the loan was for three major projects contrary to the hysteria created over it in a section of the media.

A section of the media had reported that the minister, while defending the loan before the National Assembly, said it was for the upgrades of facilities to enable NTA compete with the likes of America’s Cable Network News, CNN.

“In an era of social media, the real news is usually sacrificed on the altar of sensationalism and disinformation.

“That’s how I will describe the hysteria, in a section of the media, over the reportage of the $500 million loan being sought from China,” he said.

The minister said the loan would be used to construct a headquarters complex and transmission network for Integrated Television  Services (ITS), the Federal Government-owned signal distributor and a major component of the country’s Digital Switch Over (DSO)

He said the fund would also be used to build an ultra-modern Media City in Ikorodu to have Indoor/Outdoor shooting area, Animation Production Facility and Digital Media Training Centre.

He said other facilities in the city would include World Class Cinema, Four-Star Hotel, an Amusement Park and Amphi-theatre.

The minister said the loan would also be used for acquisition of digital movie production equipment for rental as well as power system

He disclosed that the Media City Training Academy was only the second of its type in Africa and the first is in Egypt.

He said the facilities would be used to train Nigerian broadcasters and filmmakers in the production of high quality media content programmes and make Nigeria a hub for digital movie production in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The minister also disclosed that the loan would be used for digitisation of all NTA Stations at the Headquarters, 12 zonal stations, the 36 states and FCT as well as 78 community stations.

He said the fund would also be used to upgrade, purchase and install relevant digital TV
broadcasting equipment compatible with DSO products and accessories.

Mohammed stressed that the equipment were necessary for the production and broadcast of digital programme contents in addition to provision of power system and manpower training. 

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