FG Replies US Lawmaker

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed

The Federal Government has said that the comments attributed to a United States’ Congressman, Tom Marino, were sadly out of tune with reality.

Marino had reportedly written to the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, asking his country to suspend assistance to Nigeria, alleging that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was not democratic.

“I would urge the US to withhold its security assistance to the nation until President Buhari demonstrates a commitment to inclusive government and the most basic tenets of democracy: freedom to assemble and freedom of speech,” Marino had written.

However, a statement issued by Segun Adeyemi, media aide to the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, on Sunday, said Congressman Marino was poorly informed about the issues he commented on.

The minister wondered why Marino did not make efforts to get firsthand information from the US Embassy in Nigeria or any other credible source before engaging in a ‘propaganda of his own imagination’.

Mohammed noted that the lawmaker demonstrated a poor understanding of global security issues by asking the US to refrain from military equipment to Nigeria based on a faulty premise.

“Insecurity anywhere is insecurity everywhere. Had Congressman Marino understood this, he would not have made the kind of call he made concerning the US security assistance to Nigeria.

“The Boko Haram insurgency that Nigeria has decisively dealt with under President Muhammadu Buhari is not just a Nigerian problem but a regional and international crisis,’’ the minister said.

“An Administration that operates purely on the basis of respect for the rule of law and a strict adherence to constitutional order is not one to deny the citizens of their constitutionally-guaranteed rights,” Mohammed said in defence of President Buhari’s administration.

“This Administration therefore does not need the goading of Congressman Marino or anyone for that matter to do what is right.

The information minister pointed out that the President picked his ministers from the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital territory in keeping with Nigeria’s constitution.

He added: ”Had the Congressman sought information from credible sources before engaging in a flight of fancy, he would have been presented with a comprehensive information on the appointment of CEOs for Federal Government’s parastatals, agencies and commissions that shows that the appointments were almost evenly matched along the line of the six geo-political zones in the country: With the North West having 51, North Central 46, North East 45, South East 41, South West 45 and South South 45.”

Mohammed described the claims by Marino that Buhari’s anti-corruption campaign was ‘selective’ as a lame argument and a sign that the lawmaker was taking sides.



    “That line was invented by those seeking to cause an unnecessary distraction from the Administration’s anti-corruption efforts, and it has been roundly rejected,” the minister said.

    “Congressman Marino’s decision to exhume the dead postulation without an iota of proof is a reflection of whose side he has taken in the ongoing efforts to rid Nigeria of corrupt elements.

    “Needless to say that the anti-corruption battle will continue unhindered, irrespective of whose ox is gored. And in this fight, only the guilty needs be afraid,” he added.

    Mohammed said Nigeria is delighted that Secretary Kerry, to whom the Congressman addressed his letter, is more knowledgeable and better briefed on issues concerning Nigeria.

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