SATURDAY THE ALTNERATIVE
ByÂ Reno Omokri
I am sure my readers were rudely shocked out of their reverie by the eponymously named Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, who announced to a bewildered nation that the Federal Government, whose spokesman he is, is making preparations to stop Nollywood and Nigerian pop stars from shooting movies and videos abroad.
Said Lai Mohammed, â€œThis government has agreed that henceforth, whatever we consume in Nigeria in terms of music and films, must be made in Nigeria. We cannot continue to go to South Africa or any other country to produce our films and then send them back to be consumed in Nigeria.â€
It was perhaps lost on Lai Mohammed as he spoke that his boss, President Muhammadu Buhari, who was elected in Nigeria by Nigerians is not being consumed in Nigeria.
And while we were still grappling with the absurdity of Lai Mohammedâ€™s comments, his colleague in office, Kemi Adeosun, added to the comedy that this government has become by announcing that the Buhari administration plans to tax beggars!
According to the honourable (?) minister, â€œYou are supposed to pay taxes even if your means of income is begging.â€ This is the reason why I have said that a polytechnic graduate like Kemi Adeosun is not sufficiently qualified to handle our complicated economy! It doesnâ€™t matter if the polytechnic she graduated from is in the U.K.
In civilized nations, they place beggars on social security, but in Nigeria our polytechnic-graduate finance minister wants them taxed! Last year, President Muhammadu Buhariâ€™s daughter got married in a lavish ceremony which attracted several private jets to Abuja. Rather than beggars, Kemi Adeosun can pursue their owners for taxes!
President Muhammadu Buhari is in a U.K. hospital. His children study at U.K. schools. His wife shops at U.K. stores. He and his family are more U.K. oriented than they are Nigerian oriented. Yet it is Nollywood shooting a few movies abroad that Lai Mohammed complains about. I am told that the Federal Road Safety Corps wants to perform psychiatric evaluation on reckless drivers. The FRSC should not limit its psychiatric test to reckless drivers. They should also start performing them on reckless ministers like Lai Mohammed and Kemi Adeosun!
And when given the chance to explain himself two days after making his faux pas, Lai Mohammed doubled down on his comments and insisted that TV/radio programming meant to be consumed in Nigeria must be made in Nigeria, saying inter alia, â€œThis is because we cannot continue to develop the economies of the other parts of the world from the sweat of Nigerians and at the expense of the Nigerian economyâ€.
Lai Mohammed forgets that our Presidential jet has been languishing at Londonâ€™s Stansted Airport for over 80 days and accruing daily charges in the thousands of U.K. pounds per day.
As at today, the amount of charges our Presidential jet has accrued at Londonâ€™s Stansted Airport could have paid 2,000 Nigerian workers going by the lowest parking rate charged by Stabsted. Why is the jet even there? This joke of a Presidency in their statement justified parking the Presidential jet at Londonâ€™s Stansted by saying it was for â€˜prestigeâ€™ reasons.
The Presidency says the Presidential jet is parked at Londonâ€™s Stansted for â€˜prestigeâ€™. The British Prime Minister has no official jet. Maybe she has no â€˜prestigeâ€™ even though Britain makes Jets and Nigeria does not!
Is this not a case of Nigeriaâ€™s taxpayerâ€™s monies being used to â€œdevelop the economies of the other parts of the world from the sweat of Nigerians and at the expense of the Nigerian economyâ€, to borrow Lai Mohammedâ€™s words? Lai Mohammed who now wants to stop Nollywood from making videos abroad, forgot that his All Progressives Congress relied on foreign consultants to win the 2015 elections!
They go abroad to win elections. They go abroad to educate their children. They go abroad for healthcare. But they do not want Nollywood to go abroad to make money! Perhaps Lai Mohammed wants to reduce Nollywood stars to beggars so they are eligible for taxation by Kemi Adeosun!
Since we the citizens have not complained that President Muhammadu Buhari is receiving medical treatment abroad should the Buhari administration now complain that we make movies abroad? Lai Mohammed should not provoke us.
The Financial Times of London called our President a â€œfrequent London residentâ€ in their recent Op-ed wherein they stated that he has done â€˜nothingâ€™ to improve the Nigerian economy, yet his government is complaining that they will stop our movie makers and artists from making movies and videos abroad. According to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, Nigerians (mostly government officials) spend $1 billion annually on medical tourism while less than 1% of that is spent on shooting movies and videos abroad. Lie Mohammed should get his priorities right!
I am even thinking that since Lai Mohammed does not want Nollywood to make movies abroad, perhaps Nollywood should just contract the making of films abroad to President Muhammadu Buhari and his family. After all, they are always abroad!
And those people complaining about the President spending much time in the U.K. misunderstand Lai. It is okay for the President to go abroad at public expense but not okay for Nollywood to do the same at their own personal expense!
The spokesman of a President who spends more time in London than Nigeria has the guts to condemn Nollywood for making movies abroad. What a comedic administration!
And the comedy continues! When Garba Shehu says that the Jonathan administration increased the activities of terrorists, he betrays a very shallow grasp of history which I will now prove with the benefit of some historical facts.
When the Jonathan administration imposed a state of emergency in certain local governments in the North-east of Nigeria to contain terrorists, it was precisely Muhammadu Buhari that said on Monday the 3rd of June 2013 that â€˜the military offensive against Boko Haram is anti-Northâ€™.
Again, after the Jonathan administration banned Boko Haram in 2013, it was precisely Lai Mohammed, President Buhariâ€™s current minister for information, who on Monday the 10th of June, 2013 said that banning Boko Haram was unconstitutional and that â€œthe proscription stifles the press and tampers with the fundamental human rights of Nigerians.â€
So it is therefore rich for the Buhari administration to start making these claims against the Jonathan government. It may be that Garba Shehu is not aware that this administration has lost any credibility it has especially as regards the anti-terror war.
On Thursday the 24th of December, 2015 President Muhammadu Buhari told the world that Boko Haram was â€˜technically defeatedâ€™ and gave himself a pat on the back after claiming that the terror group had lost its capacity to conduct â€conventional attacksâ€. Since that time, Boko Haram has attacked military barracks and military formations multiple times as reported in the media.
Since that time, there has been an upsurge in suicide attacks with more than 30 attacks reported in the media. In the last week alone there have been three such suicide attacks with almost 20 deaths, according to media reports.
There have also been attacks on military and police convoys with Boko Haram terrorists releasing a video this week of several women it says it kidnapped from a police convoy. Just two days ago (Thursday, July 20, 2017), the US State Department released a statement indicating that 75% of all global deaths from terrorism in 2016 originated from Nigeria and four other nations!
Nigerians may want to note that it was under the Buhari administration that the World Economic Forum on Tuesday June 20, 2017 listed Nigeria as the fifth most dangerous country in the world because instances of Fulani Herdsmen terrorism are so rampant and continue with impunity. Fulani herdsmen operating in Nigeria were also named the fourth most deadly terrorists group in the world by the Global Terrorism Index on Wednesday November 18, 2015. This is not surprising in a situation where a governor, who happens to be a close confidant of President Muhammadu Buhari, confessed to giving Fulani Herdsmen money.
It may also be recalled that on February 2, 2017 the US Congress cited Nigeria â€œas the most dangerous place for Christians in the world and that impunity for those responsible for the killing of Christians in the country seems to be widespread.â€
All these are proof positive that not only has Boko Haram not been defeated, they have metastasised under Buhari and indeed other terrorist groups have become emboldened to expand their activities nationwide.
Nigerians will remember that the Jonathan administration was able to crush Boko Haram in the first quarter of 2015 which was why the 2015 elections were able to hold throughout the entire North-east of Nigeria.
The question that Nigerians may want to ask is if elections can hold in all areas of Borno State today. The answer to that question will show who between President Buhari and former President Jonathan really defeated Boko Haram.
Never argue with a man who wants to win an argument. You are listening to understand him. He is listening to disagree with you. In the same vein, do not stay around people who do not see your worth or you will start to believe them and it is then you will truly be worthless. And note that if a tree only has access to the sun, it wonâ€™t mature. It needs the rain to fall before it can bear fruit. If man only sees good times, he wonâ€™t mature. Success is a mixture of good and bad times #RenosNuggets.
PIX: Lai Mohammed.jpg