Lai Mohammed Sits On Hot Seat With Journalist Tim Sebastian [VIDEO]
Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, recently sat on the hot seat with Tim Sebastian of Deutsche Welle (DW) where he was asked questions on allegations of numerous human rights abuses by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Mohammed granted the interview in London on the ‘Conflict Zone’ programme of the German state-owned public international broadcaster.
Sebastian, during the interview, asked the information minister to comment on the wide condemnation of the Buhari administration for human rights abuses by the United Nations, western countries, international human rights organizations and lawyers, among others.
The journalist asked Mohammed to explain why “brutality and a stunning lack of accountability” has continued to go on under the present administration despite the widespread condemnation.
The minister said, “I think there’s been a lot of misrepresentation,” adding “I known for a fact [that] this administration in particular has been very sensitive to the issue of human rights”
He said, “Sometimes terrorists, politicians, activists, are confused with human rights.”
Mohammed was also asked to speak on a damning report launched by UN Special Rapporteur, Agnes Callamard, on the human rights abuses on Nigerians by the security forces, including country-wide patterns of abuses such as military and police brutality.
Mohammed said, “I will be more impressed if examples are given. Now you must not forget that Nigeria has been locked in a war of attrition with the Boko Haram [terrorists] for almost a decade.
“And the kind of war we’re fighting is a war amongst people and even then the military has been very careful to ensure that as much as possible, rights are not violated.
“I have also read about reports of people who claim that their rights have been violated simply because they have been arrested by any of the security agencies and they’ve been asked to go through what I call due process.
“But I know that as a policy, this government does not violate anybody’s rights,” said the minister.
Sebastian also asked Mohammed questions bordering on allegations of corruption in the Buhari administration, the federal government’s alleged sponsorship of bills aimed at gagging free speech as well as indiscriminate arrests of journalists and the government’s taking of Africa Independent Television (AIT) and RayPower radio station off the air, amongst others.