Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed on Tuesday lamented that his ministry is incapacitated in the war against fake news, disinformation and hate speech ravaging Nigeria now.
Mohammed who made the lamentation during 2023 budget defence session his Ministry and relevant agencies had with the Senate Committee on Information, said the recent terror alert raised in Nigeria by the United States of America, United Kingdom and others, gave the Nation’s economy devastating blow.
He cried to the committee that his ministry requires adequate funding to fight fake news, disinformation and hate speech, the latest being the terror alert raised in Nigeria by the United States of America, United Kingdom etc.
“If there is any Ministry that should be adequately funded and not suffer from yearly budget cut, is the Information Ministry.
“The terror alert raised by America and some other countries against Nigeria , though debunked, but not properly done in terms of putting things in proper context in preventing wrong perception from becoming reality.
“The ministry is even more incapacitated from discharging its basic functions of getting Nigerians informed at all times as regards position of government on burning issues through yearly budgetary cut.
“Distinguished Senators, I’m extremely sad as far as yearly budgetary cuts are concerned, because it is getting worse and worse by the day.
“A worrisome example of this is that while the Information Ministry was given N2.5billion for capital expenditure in 2022, one third of it which is N869million is earmarked for similar purpose in 2023 fiscal year.
“This to us in the ministry is very depressing because it seems as if is the main agency bearing the burden of cash crunch being faced by government,” he said.
But the Chairman of the Committee , Senator Danladi Sankara, told him that yearly budget cuts is not limited to Information Ministry but all MDAs generally since capital vote component of the federal budget itself dropped from N2.5trillion to N1trillion.
However, a member of the committee, Senator Ibrahim Abdullahi Danbaba, assured him that budgetary votes will be made available for the ministry on advocacy for the 2023 general election.
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