The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, Sunday faulted the recent report by the London-based news magazine, The Economist, that jihadists were carving out a caliphate in the North-East.
Addressing journalists in Abuja, he said The Economist had always made wrong predictions about Nigeria.
Mohammed said contrary to its conclusion in the latest article, the federal government had made several gains in the war against insurgency.
He said: “It’s wrong to say that jihadists are carving out a caliphate in the North-East, as The Economist reported. In any case, why would the Nigerian media become an echo chamber for a foreign newspaper that denigrates the Nigerian military and makes light of the sacrifices of our valiant troops?
“Would the British or American press regurgitate a report in the Nigerian press denigrating their militaries? I do not believe that the Nigerian media hates this country, neither will I agree that the media does not appreciate our military.”
The minister appealed to the Nigerian media to stop endorsing denigration of Nigeria, its military and institutions by some unscrupulous foreign media.
“By regurgitating their inaccurate stories about Nigeria, you’re endorsing their stand. The Nigerian media was mandated to be a watchdog, not a lapdog,” he said.
He said the Nigerian media was not envisaged to be a lapdog, noting that many local media rushed to publish The Economist’s report without making any attempt to verify it.
He said The Economist’s “patently-wrong and badly-researched story was immediately amplified by the local media without even interrogating its content.
“For example, The Economist reported that the jihadist threat in the North-east has ‘metastasized’, and everyone knows that this is totally inaccurate. Prior to the time it was dislodged, which was before December 2015 when I led a team of local and international journalists to Bama in Borno state, Boko Haram established the headquarters of its so-called Caliphate in that town (Bama) where it hoisted its flag, collected taxes as well as installed and removed Emirs at will.
“Today, Boko Haram has no Caliphate anywhere in Nigeria. Yet, the Nigerian press regurgitated that report by The Economist”.