It would be recalled, there were mass protests by Igbos in South-East Nigeria for an independent country of Biafra and also for the release of the arrested Nnamdi Kanu, the promoter of Radio Biafra, a pirate radio the Nigerian government accuses of spreading hate and violence.
The continued protests became violent with reported deaths of about eleven people, including two policemen.
Speaking on the agitations, the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed described the basic cause of it as “economic”, adding that it would have gotten worse but for the efforts of the current administration.
Speaking at a News Agency of Nigeria Forum in Abuja at the weekend, Mr. Mohammed, who noted that current agitations by citizens were “completely legitimate,” assured of the Federal Government’s commitment to strengthening the economy.
He said: “There are many political frontlines in Nigeria, religious, ethnic and the like but these things do not come to the fore until when there are serious economic problems like we are having today.
“I have listened to the complaints of many of these agitators and right down it is economic.
“They must understand too that but for this furtiveness of this administration, this country would have been by far much worse.
“There is need for Nigerians to understand also that these are not ordinary times and that the government is not just making excuses.
“I appeal to our leaders not to exploit this situation to further destabilise Nigerians; our leaders should be courageous enough to come out and defend our unity.
“In the short term, it might be politically fashionable for them to be on the side of some agitators but in the long term, it is in the overall interest of Nigeria that we all understand our differences, respect them forge a united Nigeria.
“There will be no alternative to one united Nigeria.”
“The most important thing is that the government must do a lot of self-assessment itself.
“The government has the responsibility to listen to all; it also has the responsibility to analyse issues to see which complaints are genuine and those that are not and look into them.”
“At times some of the agitations might be because the government is not adequately publicising what it is doing.
“Some of the agitations could also arise from lack of understanding of government policies.
“Unfortunately, we have allowed the social media to dictate the agenda for us; that must stop immediately.
“If, for instance, we dedicate platforms that churn out positive stories, very soon other negative platforms become irrelevant.
“It is only the absence of an alternative narrative with the correct information that makes such other platforms relevant.”