The Minister for Information, Culture and Tourism, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, has berated the Nigerian media over what he called their reliance on foreign media for reports of events that occurred locally.
Alhaji Muhammed expressed this disgust this afternoon while speaking at the commissioning of the FRCN (Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria) radio station at Oko in Surulere local government area of Oyo state.
The minister fumed, while referring to the recent Lekki Toll Gate shooting brouhaha in which CNN reported that thirty-eight protesters were shot dead by soldiers and later backtracked on the number of deaths, “I want to challenge the broadcast media in Nigeria in taking the lead in telling Nigeria’s stories. It is condemnable, a situation where foreign reporters arrogate to themselves the power to tell our stories.”
Muhammed challenged the local media to save us from “jaundiced reporting by CNN,” adding, “I condemn a situation where local media will quote foreign media for what happened in Nigeria, it must not happen again.”
He earlier thanked Hon Segun Odebunmi, a.k.a. Bunvic, who is representing Surulere/Ogo-Oluwa federal constituency in the House of Representatives for facilitating the project and for what he described as the support his ministry receives from the committee being headed by Hon Odebunmi.
Noting that the Oko FRCN FM station, styled, “Ogo-Ilu FM Station 89.3,” was a constituency project of Odebunmi, stressed that radio remains one of the most powerful and effective means of communications.
He stated that the achievement was unprecedented in being the first of its kind in terms of constituency projects and in making Oyo state the only state with two FRCN radio stations in Nigeria, while also commending FRCN Director General, Dr. Mansur Liman and FRCN Ibadan Zonal Director, Alhaji Muhammed Bello, for bringing the station to reality.
“I thank Hon Segun Odebunmi because he has been very, very supportive as the chairman of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and National Values; he fights for me every time, he often makes case for improved funding for my ministry.
“Ogo-Ilu Radio station is an FM station made possible as a constituency project of Hon Olusegun Odebunmi.
“To appreciate the uniqueness of what he has done for this community, it is the first and only FM station of FRCN that is a product of constituency project, Oyo state now is the only state with two FRCN stations. He (Bunvic) with other ‘conspirators’ (FRCN DG and Zonal Director) ensured Oko people now have a FM station.
“I have been informed this radio station is a trail blazer, being the first of its kind, thank you Hon Odebunmi, the Director General of FRCN and FRCN Zonal Director (who incidentally is retiring tomorrow, Sunday, December 6).
“Radio remains one of the most powerful means of communications, radio goes where technology cannot go, radio goes beyond illiteracy. It is very effective.
“Radio also helps to deepen democracy by enhancing the participation of citizens as it gives opportunity of feedback through phone-in sessions and thus fosters a two-way communication.”
Other dignitaries who spoke at the commissioning ceremony including FRCN DG, Mansur Liman and the retiring zonal director, Muhammed Bello and traditional rulers all heaped commendations on Hon Odebunmi, who is serving his third term as a member of the House of Representatives, for the feat.
Liman noted, “In this period of fake news this radio station will be relevant,” adding, “He (Bunvic) singlehandedly conceived this idea as his constituency project and provided this facility at no cost to the federal government. With this project, he has left an indelible imprint and brought government closer to the people.
“It is the first time in the history of Radio Nigeria for a House member to achieve such a thing. It will improve the living standard of the host community, local government and the nation at large. In this period of fake news, credible and reliable information will get to the people with a station like this.”
Hon Odebunmi in his speech thanked President Muhammadu Buhari, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, Dr. Liman and Muhammed Bello for their supports in making the radio station see the light of day, promising to do more for his constituents.
Muhammed Bello, who spoke partly in Yoruba also hammered; “Foreign media wanted to deliberately cause trouble in Nigeria. If CNN made false reports against Nigeria and retracted it, I wonder why local media will not retract same even though they relied on the reports of foreign media to make their reports! But they can’t destroy Nigeria. FRCN is serving the people and not the government.”
He also said of Bunvic, “Hon Odebunmi is a very humble person, very simple. He fulfills promises he makes, what we are doing today is one of the promises he made and being fulfilled.”
Some other dignitaries who attended the ceremony were former governor Adebayo Alao-Akala represented by Alhaji Wasiu Olukan; Olugbon of Orile-Igbon, Oba Francis Olusola Alao, represented by Prince Olawale Olaniyi; Oloko of Oko, Oba Solomon Adsia Akinola; Aresa of Iresapupa, Oba Moses Olayiwola Ajiboye III; Alapa of Okin-Apa, Oba Professor John Akionla Akintola, represented by his wife, Olori Jewel Akintola as well as some senior management teams of FRCN.