Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris says the relocation of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) headquarters and certain departments of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to Lagos are not politically motivated.
The decision had drawn criticism and support, with Ali Ndume, chief whip of the senate, saying it would have political consequences, but Muhammadu Sanusi, former CBN governor, said it was a sensible move.
In a statement on Sunday, Idris said the allegations were “unfounded”, noting the relocation is a practical step to improve the operational competence and reduce the cost of operation.
He said the relocation was not to marginalise any section of the country.
“It is not true that the relocation to Lagos of the headquarters of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), and of certain departments of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), are political moves aimed at marginalizing a section of the country,” Idris said.
“These allegations are unfounded. Instead, these are pragmatic administrative steps to improve operational efficiency and reduce operating costs.”
The minister underscored the federal government’s efforts to mitigate the impact of inflation on citizens through its initiatives like the students’ loan scheme, reduced cost of CNG mass transit buses, and various low-interest loan schemes for businesses.
“Regarding the economy, all relevant ministries and agencies of the federal government are working in coordinated fashion, to bring down inflation, stabilize foreign exchange rates, and create a truly enabling environment for business and investment. The Nigeria that President Tinubu seeks to build is one where no one is left behind,” he said.
“Impactful interventions are being rolled out, including a students’ loan scheme, a presidential initiative to deploy lower-cost CNG mass transit buses to provide alternatives to petrol and diesel, and various low-interest loan schemes for businesses.
“The CNG interventions will bring down the cost of transportation by more than 50 percent. We urge Nigerians to take advantage of these opportunities as they emerge, as they have been designed for the benefit of all.”
Idris said the federal government under the leadership of President Bola Tinubu, is particular about ending the menace of banditry in the country.
Idris commended the effort of the security and intelligence agencies in ensuring the safety of the citizens and that criminals are smoked out of their hideouts.
“In the area of security, all threats are being boldly confronted. We are taking the fight to the criminals’ dens, with promising results. Within the last week, several bandits, kidnappers and militants have been neutralized or arrested,” the minister said.
“The resurgent crisis in Plateau State is indeed highly regrettable, and we assure that all perpetrators of violence there, and everywhere else in the country, are being brought to book. Justice will be done, and peace will be restored in all affected communities.
“We salute the gallantry of security and intelligence agencies who are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that we are safe in our homes and on the highways, and that criminals have no breathing space.”
Commenting on the Nigerian stock market performance in 2024, Idris said the bourse has been on the positive side since the beginning of the year, attracting global investors, which will see the country make developmental progress.
“In the opening weeks of 2024, our stock market has already put us on the global map for the impressive returns being delivered. The Indian businesses that pledged $14 billion in new investment in Nigeria on the sidelines of the G20 summit in India in September 2023 have since started making good on those pledges,” He said.
“Across oil and gas, agriculture, consumer goods, renewable energy, healthcare, ICT and many other fields we are seeing global and local businesses demonstrating unshakable belief in the limitless possibilities that Nigeria embodies.”
The minister also praised the performance of the Super Eagles at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations, noting that their victory was a reminder of Nigeria’s unity in diversity.
“The heartwarming exploits of our beloved Super Eagles at the ongoing African cup of nations in Cote d’Ivoire are another case in point; a timely reminder that the things that bind us together as one is much deeper than the things that separate and divide us,” he said.
Idris said despite the temporary challenges and setbacks Nigerians face from time to time, a glorious dawn is around the corner.