The Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has reiterated the commitment of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to give an enabling environment for robust media practice in Nigeria.

Speaking as Chief Host at the opening ceremony of the 2021 edition of the Annual Roundtable on Cultural Orientation (ARTCO), organised by the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) on Tuesday, July 27, 2021 at JJ & Jays Event Centre, Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, the Minister said contrary to insinuations in some quarters that the present administration has plans to muzzle the media, government rather appreciates the role of the fourth estate of the realm as a strategic partner in its determination to foster socio-economic and political development in the country.

Represented by the Kwara State Director of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr. Olusegun Adeyemi at the event which had as theme: “Culture, Media and National Cohession in Nigeria”, Lai Mohammed said the present government’s position on the regulation of the social media is in our collective interest as a nation and in line with global best practices.

His words “The phenomenon of fake news and hate speeches which have dominated the social media space are detrimental to the nation’s peace, security and national cohesion and no responsible government would allow it’s enemies to use the social media as a tool to distabilise the nation”.

Commending the Management of NICO for initiating the Roundtable and its sustenance over the years, the Information and Culture Minister said the theme could not have come at a more auspicious time than now as it serves as a veritable platform for scholars and stakeholders to interrogate critical issues of national development.

Speaking earlier, the Executive Secretary of NICO, Mallam Ado Muhammed Yahuza who attributed the bane of our national cohession and developmental efforts to ethnicity and religious bias, said the present challenges Nigeria is facing as a nation can be surmounted through cultural rebirth programmes with the media playing a leading role.

“It is our belief that if the media emphasize and celebrate our cherished cultural values and the things that unite us instead of the things that divide us, national unity and cohession would be easily achieved”, he said.

According to him, the Institute chose the theme for the event to re-emphasize the significance of culture and the media to the socio-political and economic development of the nation.

Caleb Nor (Media Assistant to ES, NICO) &
M. Naseer Saeed (NCZ).