The Minister of Information & National Orientation, Mohammed Idris Malagi, made his debut appearance on ARISEtv Newsnight alongside Suleiman Aledeh and Ngozi Alaegbu.
He had an interesting conversation about government communications, national orientation, and our national values and ethos as Nigerians.
In the interview, Mohammed Idris Malagi talked about many things, such as :
He said that he has spent the last eight weeks understanding what the Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation (FMINO) is all about. he did several meetings with the Departments and the Agencies. he added: “We know what we desire it to be, but we need to start by understanding what it currently is, and why it’s not where we want it to be.”
He mentioned that Trust in government communications has broken down. Citizens don’t think the government is telling them the truth. But they need to start earning the Trust of the people again and earning the buy-in of the people for the work we have to do. The truth has to be told always.
According to him, National Orientation is a key part of our mandate at the Ministry. Trust in government and the country is being eroded, so people need to ask themselves, where did they get it wrong? Why don’t Nigerians believe in Nigeria? he said that his administration is developing a strategy to rediscover ourselves and to believe in Nigeria once again.
Therefore, people, along with the government, need a national conversation about the kind of country we want. Why is Civics not compulsory again? Who is a Nigerian citizen? Have we defined that? We need to bring back the values and ethos that define us.
He also added Nigeria is a great country, and the masses should believe in their importance in the world. He said that the need of the hour is to come together to discuss our roles, our responsibilities, what Nigeria will give Nigerians, and what Nigerians will give Nigeria.
Furthermore, he regarded the Nigerian press as the most liberal and added that President Tinubu is determined to make it even freer. Information dissemination is critical for the success of any government. The president has been trying to say things exactly as they are.
Notably, the issue of fake news and disinformation is not just a Nigerian problem, and it happens globally. He mentioned the instance of the U.S. what fake news did there, which led to the January 6 attack on the very nerve centre of American democracy. According to him, Nigeria needs to tackle misinformation and disinformation on a global scale.
At last, he promised that his administration would not restrain the press or Nigerians or undermine press freedom. It is, however, also important to point out that every right comes with a responsibility. Freedom of speech comes with responsibilities.