The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said he is the most sued minister in the cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Minister stated this in Abuja at a send forth dinner organised in his honour by his ministry and its parastatals as the Buhari administration comes to an end in days.

Speaking at the event, the minister said, excluding the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, who is represented or joined in cases against the Federal Government, he is the most sued minister.

He said not less than 37 cases were filed against him and his office in the course of discharging his duties speaking for government, defending its policies and programmes as well as being the cultural ambassador of the nation.

According to the minister, no month would pass that President Buhari would not receive a message that Lai Mohammed should be fired for one alleged infractions or the other.

He said he was able to keep his job because the President trusted and believed in him and knew that his actions were in the interest of the administration and country.

Mohammed identified the EndSARS crisis and the suspension of Twitter operations in the country as the two most challenging incidents and actions that his office faced and had to manage and defend.

According to him, it was a daunting task, during the EndSARS, for his office to convince Nigerians and the global community that no life was lost at the Lekki Toll gate which some sections of the media erroneously tagged ‘massacre”.

He reiterated that till date, nobody has come out to claim that his or her child, ward or relative was killed at the the Lekki Toll Gate.

The minister said the suspension of Twitter operations attracted criticism and condemnations locally and internationally because the reason for the action by government was misunderstood.

He said the action had paid off for the country because Twitter has registered its operations in the country and ready to work with terms and conditions agreed by both parties.

Looking back to Nov. 11, 2015, when he assumed office as Minister, Mohammed said it was an epic journey and so far, it was the longest period anyone had served as Minister of Information and Culture.

“I make bold to say that thanks to you all, we lived up to our mandate, which is the management of the image, reputation and promotion of the culture of the people and government of Nigeria.

We did these through a dynamic public information system that facilitated access by citizens and the global community to credible and timely information.

“Among many achievements, we blazed the trail in the retrieval of our timeless artefacts from those who looted them, and our model is being followed by many countries around the world,” he said.

Mohammed thanked the two Special Assistants to the President attached to his office, Mr Segun Adeyemi, and Mr William Adeleye, whom he described as team players.

He also appreciated the five Permanent Secretaries that worked with him during his tenure, CEOs of the agencies under the Ministry, Directors, his media team and other members of staff for their diligence and cooperation.

Earlier in a welcome address, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mrs Lydia Jafiya, hailed the minister for his innovation and outstanding contributions to the development of the country.

He described the minister as a humorous boss who would work late nights, push them to work to get results, get upset when the need arose but would never hold the anger to heart.

She also hailed the minister for his inclusiveness, firmness, intelligence, fatherly disposition and wished him well in his future endeavour.

The Director-General of National Orientation Agency, Dr Garba Abari, who spoke on behalf of the CEOs of the parastatal agencies of the ministry, corroborated the workaholic, and fatherly disposition of the minister.

He thanked the minister for the support and cooperation he gave to each and everyone of the CEOs and their organisations.

There was also a virtual goodwill messages from Mr Zurab Polokikashvilli, the Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), and Mr Hamat Bah, the Gambian Minister of Tourism and Culture.

Polokikashvilli and Bah respectively thanked Mohammed for his “great vision and passion” for the tourism industry in Nigeria, Africa and the world at large.

Bah specifically commended Mohammed for his “calm demeanour and fatherly advice” deployed to calm tensions and resolve issues whenever there were misunderstandings or crisis in the meetings of African Minister’s of Tourism and Culture.

For his part, Polokikashvilli said the minister’s contributions to the development of tourism locally, regionally and internationally would remain indelible.

 

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