The Federal Government says close to one million passengers and 3.5 million tonnes of freight will be conveyed on the Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri rail line annually.

The 326-kilometre rail line, which had suffered setbacks in the last 30 years, was virtually inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari in September 2020.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who disclosed this on Monday in Lagos said the Buhari administration is reviving and modernising the country’s rail.

Mohammed said passenger service had also commenced on the Lagos-Ibadan railway, ahead of the project’s inauguration.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Lagos-Ibadan rail line is a double-track standard gauge rail, the first of its kind in West Africa and the first leg of the Lagos- Kano rail line.

The minister also said the Loko-Oweto Bridge over River Benue is now 97 per cent completed.

NAN reports that the 1.8-kilometre bridge linking the northern and southern part of the country across the River Benue will achieve a drastic cut in travel time.

Mohammed further said the Federal Government is constructing or renovating 37 bridges across the country, including the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos, the Second Niger Bridge and the Ikom Bridge in Cross River.

Others, he said, are the Murtala Mohammed Bridge in Koton Karfe, Kogi, the Tatabu Bridge linking Niger and Kwara, Isaac Boro Bridge in Port Harcourt and the Tamburawa Bridge in Kano State.

The minister said the Federal Government also completed and inaugurated the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu for scheduled flights.

He said the rehabilitation of the runway and other associated works were executed in line with ICAO standard.

Mohammed said the administration had also continued to make steady progress in the areas of agriculture and power.

In agriculture, he said the Federal Government inaugurated “The Green Imperative,’’ a 10-year programme targeting the creation of five million jobs and injection of 10 billion dollars into the economy.

He said the Nigeria-Brazil agricultural bilateral initiative would lead to the reactivation of six motor assembly plants in the six geopolitical zones of the country for assembling tractors and other implements.

Mohammed said with the Anchor Borrowers programme introduced in 2015, more than N200 billion had been made available to support over 1.5 million farmers in the production of rice, wheat, cassava, poultry, soya beans, groundnut, maize, cotton and fish.

The minister said following an agreement with the German company, Siemens, in July 2019 to boost electricity supply, the stage was now set for ending the perennial power problem in the country.

Under the three-phase agreement, he said Nigerians will enjoy 7,000 megawatts of reliable power supply by the end of 2021 (Phase 1), 11,000 megawatts by the end of 2023 (Phase 2) and 25,000 megawatts in the third phase.

Human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, has sued the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed for arbitrarily amending the Broadcast Code and hiking the fine for hate speech from N500,000 to N5 million. In the originating motion filed before a Federal High Court in Lagos, Barrister Effiong challenged the imposition of N5m fine on Nigeria Info 99.3FM Lagos and the threat by the minister to punish other broadcast stations in the country over alleged hate speech.

The suit comes barely days after Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, fined Nigeria media for granting an interview to a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, who claimed that an unidentified northern governor was a Boko Haram commander.

The minister had threatened that any TV or radio station that allows elected officials to be insulted on its platform would be fined N5m or shut down. The Lawyer had also alleged that Lai Mohammed hijacked the responsibility of the NBC and unilaterally hiked the fine for hate speech from N500,000 to N5 million without consultation.

Barrister Effiong in his supporting affidavit told the court that the actions of the Minister of Information and Culture had gravely affected his freedom of expression and that of broadcast stations, broadcasters and other Nigerian citizens who also appear as guests on radio and television stations to express critical views about the government and public officeholders.
The lawyer argued that “abusing” or “insulting” the government cannot be criminalized in a democracy. He contended that the expression “hate speech” is not defined under any written law and cannot be invoked or penalized based on the capricious expectations of the Respondents.

He said that to do otherwise “will amount to setting fire to the constitution” and that “those who are paid with taxpayers money cannot be insulated or shielded from insults and abuse by those who pay them (the citizens)”.

The activist reminded the court that “Nigeria has passed the era of colonialism and military dictatorship”. He said that Lai Mohammed, was “seeking to subvert Nigeria’s constitutional democracy with the attendant liberties and foist a civilian dictatorship on the country.”

The lawyer, therefore, prayed the court to make “a declaration that broadcast stations in Nigeria, broadcasters, guests and callers during radio and television programmes are entitled to a fair trial before a court of competent jurisdiction as guaranteed by Section 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and Article 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Cap. A9 L.F.N. 2004 before a sentence of fine or other penalties can be imposed on them over comments, views or opinions expressed on radio and television”.
He further prayed the court to make an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Minister of Information and Culture from imposing fines or other penalties on broadcast stations in Nigeria for comments or opinions expressed by citizens during radio or television programmes.

The lawyer also asked the court to nullify and set aside the penalty of fine or other penalties imposed on broadcast stations by the minister. Barrister Effiong equally asked that the court should set aside the provisions of the extant National Broadcasting Code and any amendment made thereto, which purports to prohibit, criminalize or penalize comments or views expressed by citizens about the government and public office holders considered by Lai Mohammed and the Federal Government to be “abusive”, “insulting” or “hate speech”.

<p class="has-drop-cap has-vivid-red-color has-text-color" value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">Video Source CNNVideo Source CNN

“How Can A Minister Be So Misinformed”— DJ Switch Finally Tackles Lai Muhammed

Exiled DJ Switch has finally replied Minister Of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammed over his denial of Lekki massacre that has got people talking for weeks

DJ Switch who has been granted asylum by Canadian government took to her Twitter page on Tuesday to tackle the minister and ask how he could be so misinformed despite being a minister of information. 

<p class="has-drop-cap has-vivid-purple-color has-text-color" value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">"Hw can a "minister of information" be so "misinformed"?The only believable thing about him, is his name…Lai Unfortunately Sir,the truth is a very stubborn thing! Tnk u all 4 ur well wishes & prayers.Its nt bn easy 4 me bt d need 2 #SoroSoke is more important than their bullying". She tweeted. “Hw can a “minister of information” be so “misinformed”?The only believable thing about him, is his name…Lai Unfortunately Sir,the truth is a very stubborn thing! Tnk u all 4 ur well wishes & prayers.Its nt bn easy 4 me bt d need 2 #SoroSoke is more important than their bullying”. She tweeted. 

You would recall that the minister who has been defending the Nigerian government and debunking the killing at the Lekki tollgate said DJ switch who streamed the incident on Instagram live has a case to answer. 

The minister accused the DJ switch who is now in exile for fear of persecution of plunging the country into chaos for his live streaming of the event which the government denied to have happened. 

The minister has also petitioned CNN for their investigative reporting of the Lekki massacre that indicted the Nigerian Army of killing peaceful protesters.