The Federal Government have called English newspaper ‘The Economist’ racist over the latter’s article on the ‘Change Begins with Me’ campaign.
This accusation was made by the Minister for information and culture Lai Mohammed. He said this in a statement stating that the Economist was looking down on Nigeria’s attempt to re-orientate herself.
The statement said; “Our attention has been drawn to a story by The Economist, datelined Lagos and featured in the paper’s print edition of Sept. 24, 2016 entitled: ”Nigeria’s war against indiscipline, Behave or be whipped
“Contrary to the newspaper’s self-professed belief in ”plain language”, the article in question, from the headline to the body, is a master-piece of embellishment or dressed-up language
“It is loaded with innuendos and decidedly pejorative at best and downright racist at worst.’’
Mr. Mohammed was unhappy with the conclusion the Economist came up with in the article where they surmised that the Change Begins with Me campaign was a means to tame Nigerians and get them in line.
“It is a deliberate put-down of a whole people under the guise of criticising a government policy,’’ he said.
“In writing the story, the paper did not even deem it necessary to speak with any official of the government, thus breaching one of the codes of journalism, which is fairness,’’ he added.
Mr. Mohammed stated that the true intention of the campaign was to encourage transparency and change from the very top.
“Change Begins With Me” was designed to start from the President, then trickle down to the Vice President, ministers, other top government officials and to all citizens.” he said.
“The campaign is asking Nigerians to be the change they want to see in the society; for example, the motorists among us must obey traffic rules, our aggrieved youth must stop destroying public property,
“Patent medicine sellers must stop selling fake drugs; commercial vehicle drivers must stop taking alcoholic beverages before driving.
“There is nothing extraordinary or over-burdening in all these,’’