'Boko Haram, MEND Not Cause Of Nigeria's Low Key Liberation Birthday' -FG
The fear of Boko Haram and Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) over likely detonation of bombs in strategic areas in Nigeria may not have been responsible for the low-key arrangement for the51st independence anniversary by federal government
Nigeria's Information Minister, Labaran Maku has disclosed that the decision to make the celebration a low-key was because the nation had expended huge amount of money on the last 50th independence anniversary and the May 29th inauguration of President and Governors of the 36 states of the Federation.
He blamed the media for reports in which the Federal Government decision for a low-keyed celebration was attributed to the fear of threats from Boko Haram, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) or state of insecurity in the country, said its decision to make Saturday's 51st independence anniversary low-keyed has nothing to do with Boko Haram or any fear of insecurity.
Maku, while expressing disappointment over media reports that promote anti-state actors, said that Nigeria is looking forward to the 100th centenary celebration of the amalgamation of the country when there would be elaborate ceremony.
'I want to make it very clear here that the fact that this independence is low keyed has nothing to do with fear of Boko Haram or any insecurity. As far as Nigerians know this is not the first time and we have just done two important ceremonies in one year and it will only be wise to say that since we are going to be 100 years soon it will only be wise that we devote energy to the centenary celebration', he said.
'The Federal Government decided there will be no ceremonies. In the past one year, Nigeria was 50 years last year and there was a huge celebration as we never did before after 1960. This country particularly at the federal level we celebrated massively with full military parade we never saw since our child hood days because last year was a special one for us, so the government decided to pay attention to celebrate the achievements of Nigeria, in the last 50 years'
'Immediately after, we also had a huge inauguration celebration we had the same in virtually in all the 36 states on May 29th and several world leaders were here to witness the event. They were also here when we turned 50. These were huge celebrations that cost huge resources to organize. And so it was in the wisdom of the federal government that this year's celebration will be low keyed. This is so that when Nigeria clocks 100 years of amalgamation in 2014, we will now have a full scale centenary celebration of our country'.
'Please let me call on our colleagues to exercise some levels of responsibility. We need to exercise some levels of responsibility. First of all let me express my disappointment with one of the front page stories in one of the leading Newspapers today in which it claims that the federal government has stepped down celebrations in this year's anniversary because of Boko Haram scare.
'I think this story was the highest level of lack of responsibility on the part of the management and Editors of the Newspapers. Nigerian belong to all of us, we must put the interest of this country first. The President has just signed the Freedom of Information Act into Law as the sign of this administration's commitment to the promotion of the freedom of the Press. It is increasingly a matter of concern the way a few newspapers have been reporting the security challenges this nation has.
'In the first instance, every Nigerian is aware that even under the Military regime, it is not every anniversary that this nation has to celebrate with Military parade. I know that under this dispensation, as a former Commissioner, I know that in several years, we never celebrated Independence with Military parade where school children will come out and engage in match past.
'It is therefore shocking that a newspaper will go to town to make this type of claims. Now let me say this clearly here, for quite so time the media has been giving so much attention and newspaper space to every little claim from anti- state actors. I think there must be minimum national interest because first above every other actor, the media are the gate keepers. Because every foreigner that visits the country today and pick up a copy of that write-up, the impression will be that Nigeria is so scared'.