JUST IN: FG slams Nigerian media for “amplifying” UK paper’s negative report about country

Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture says a recent article by UK-based The Economist about security challenges in Nigeria is “badly researched”.

POLITICS NIGERIA reports that The Economist’s article titled, ‘Insurgency, Secessionism and Banditry Threaten Nigeria,’ accused the administration of Muhammadu Buhari of ineptitude, while lambasting the Nigerian Armed forces, alleging that it sometimes sells weapons to insurgents.

Mohammed, at a press briefing in Abuja on Thursday, described the article by the news magazine as inaccurate.

The Economist’s article had elicited reactions from the presidency, army, and, most recently, from Sarafa Isola, Nigeria’s high commissioner to the UK, who wrote to the media house to complain about the “unfair” reportage.

Speaking to pressmen on Thursday, Mohammed criticised Nigerian media houses for “amplifying” the “inaccurate” report.

“The idea of the Nigerian media, especially the traditional media, regurgitating anything and everything published or reported by its foreign counterpart is totally antithetical to its reputation of independence and vibrancy,” the minister said.

“The Nigerian media does itself a great disservice by turning itself into an echo chamber of the foreign media.

“When The Economist reported its patently-wrong and badly-researched story, it was immediately amplified by the local media, without even interrogating its content? This is totally unconscionable! For example, The Economist reported that the jihadist threat in the north-east has ‘metastasized’, and everyone knows that this is totally inaccurate.

“Prior to the time it was dislodged, which was before December 2015 when I led a team of local and international journalists to Bama in Borno state, Boko Haram established the headquarters of its so-called caliphate in that town (Bama), where it hoisted its flag, collected taxes, as well as installed and removed emirs at will.

“Today, Boko Haram has no caliphate anywhere in Nigeria. Yet, the Nigerian press regurgitated that report by The Economist.”

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