By ROTIMI IJIKANMI
LAGOS- The Federal Government says in spite of Nigeria’s security challenges, the country is not a war zone and is safe for investment.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said this on Friday in Lagos at the Platform Capital Forum, organised by UNICORN Group.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the forum is an assemblage of major investors, start-ups and early stage companies in technology and innovative ideas from across the globe.
Addressing the global audience, the minister said there were a lots of de-marketing going on about Nigeria, particularly outside the shores of the country.
“If you read about Nigeria, from outside the shores of the country you will think Nigeria is truly a war zone.
“I am glad that some of you have been in Nigeria for days and you can attest to the fact that indeed we have challenges in some parts of the country but Nigeria is not a war zone.
“Nigeria is not a country where Christians are persecuted by Muslims or where one ethnic group is being dominated by the other.
“Nigeria is safe for investment,’’ he said
Mohammed admonished those de-marketing the country to refrain from the act ,saying “we do not have any other country than Nigeria and no matter what challenges we have we must make it work’’.
He noted that in spite of the challenges facing Nigeria, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was doing its best to reposition the country.
On insecurity, the minister said normalcy was returning to the North East with terrorists being degraded ,and the focus inow shifting to rehabilitation and rebuilding.
“Boko Haram is severely degraded and ISWAP leadership has been eliminated and is floundering
“No fewer than 51,000 terrorists surrendered in first three months of this year alone
“We are also tackling banditry with the same vigour with which we have taken on Boko Haram and ISWAP, and it is a matter of time for bandits to be decimated too.
The minister said the administration had re -geared the economy to domestic production and made the nation less vulnerable to external shocks.
He said that economic growth was, however, not where the government wanted it to be owing to adverse global headwinds – the commodity slump, pandemic, and war in Ukraine – .
“The fundamentals of our economy are now on a stronger footing for future growth.
“Heavy investment in infrastructure is set to unleash Nigerian growth, connect communities, and lessen inequality across the country,’’ he said.
Still on the administration’s score card, the minister said corrupt politicians were being removed without fear or favour and the 2016 Whistleblowing Policy had yielded several billions in recoveries within Nigeria.
He said looted funds from past regimes were being returned and channelled to infrastructure development
Mohammed, however ,said it was disappointing that some of the recovered funds were still being blocked.
“Western governments should be helping us recover our money, not blocking it.
“Past funds have been returned, and then gone towards infrastructure.
“Governments proclaim they want to return, but then tie it up in endless bureaucracy for reasons unclear to the government,’’ he said
Dr Akintoye Akindele, Chairman of UNICORN Group, thanked the minister for coming to the event, saying that there were lots of investment opportunities in Nigeria.
Akindele said with massive potential and innovative ideas, Nigeria could overcome its challenges,
He therefore enjoined the people to speak and write positive things about the country rather than go around to de-market it.
NAN reports that the highlight of the event was the tour of the campuses and various incubation hubs in the establishment. (NAN)