‘We’ll soon go to UK for information on Nigeria’ — Lai laments ‘underfunding’ of his ministry
October 25, 20210
Lai Mohammed, minister of information of culture, says inadequate funding for digitisation may cause the country to lose valuable historical information and records.
Mohammed said this on Monday when he appeared before the house of representatives committee on information, national orientation, ethics and values to defend the ministry’s 2022 budget.
According to the minister, the information ministry is generally underfunded, subsequently affecting the digitisation of the country’s records and history.
He further warned that Nigerians may soon have to look to the UK for information on the country if the issue is not addressed.
The ministry proposed a total of N67,741,989,960 in its 2022 budget — N51,364,085,685 (personnel), N4,432,188,353 (overhead), and N11,945,715,922 (capital).
The minister appealed to the committee to ensure that the “meagre” allocation due to the ministry is not slashed by the national assembly.
He said: “We had an exhibition and I had to take the secretary to the government of the federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, to our office in Radio House to see the need for urgent digitisation of the records.
“The danger is that, if I need N1 million to digitise and you give me N200,000, what can I do? Year in, year out, we roll it over. Meanwhile, we are losing these documents by the day.
“There are some pictures that we need to preserve for our grandchildren. If we are unlucky to have flood or rains or fire disaster or termites eat up some of these valuable records, it will not be good for us. If we get timely release of money that we need for the project, it will save us of all these.
“Very soon, we will be going to the UK to get information pertaining to us.”
Olusegun Odebunmi, chairman of the committee, also expressed concern over poor funding of the ministry, adding that the matter will be tabled officially before the green chamber.
“I don’t know why the ministry of information is being underfunded and I see some state ministries being funded more than a whole federal ministry,” Odebunmi said.
“We need to make an official report on this matter to the house. If we don’t need the services of the ministry of information again, we should close it.”
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