The House of Representatives Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values has commended the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture for “proactive’’ information dissemination in the fight against COVID-19.
Chairman of the committee, Rep. Odebunmi Olusegun (APC-Oyo) gave the commendation during the ministry’s 2021 budget defence at the National Assembly on Tuesday.
Olusegun said that the ministry, and departments and agencies under its supervision, helped to flatten the curve of the pandemic.
“Let me first of all appreciate the Ministry of Information and its agencies for their proactive approach to information dissemination during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I must say that the approach helped Nigeria to stem the tide and as well flattened the curve of the spread. This was achieved by commitment in spite of the obvious challenges,’’ he said.
The chairman expressed satisfaction with the improvement in the amount proposed for the ministry and its agencies in the 2021 budget compared with previous budgets.
According to him, the Ministry of Information and its agencies are expected to be on top of their duties in ensuring proper, effective and timely dissemination of information as regards government activities, to the populace.
Olusegun said the ministry is expected to carry out its duties in a manner that conforms to global best practices in terms of modern equipment and training of personnel.
He however, noted that inadequate financial allocation is hampering the performance of the ministry, adding that its financial status needs to be improved.
“As a matter of fact, budget of information ministries in states like Akwa-lbom and Rivers are far more than what the whole country is proposing for Federal Ministry of Information in spite of the very high responsibilities attached therein.
“Hence, the need for more and better funding is advocated for us to support the fact that information is power.
“Nigerians need to be better informed on the activities of government, and there is need for this ministry and its agencies to diligently deliver on their mandates of showcasing our potential,’’ Olusegun said.
He said that the only way to check fake news and hate speech that have become a challenge to Nigeria’s unity is to neutralise falsehood with the truth.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed expressed satisfaction with the committee’s position.
Mohammed also expressed satisfaction that the parliament is collaborating with the executive for a better Nigeria.
The minister said that the understanding of the parliament towards the ministry and its agencies will encourage them to continue to give their best to Nigerians in spite of challenges. (NAN)