By Cecilia John
Nigerian information minister Lai Mohammed has emphasized the need for adequate funding of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) due to its strategic role in the projection of Nigeria’s image.
Defending the ministry’s 2017 budget before the Senate Committee on Information in Abuja on Thursday, he said the reach of NAN in Africa and other countries of the world were unbeatable.
According to him, in view of its importance in the dissemination of information, it ought to be properly funded to carry out its mandate.
“NAN plays a fundamental role in news dissemination. It has the highest coverage in news gathering in the whole of Africa in terms of its spread.
“But their jobs are hampered because they don’t have the finance, they don’t have equipment.
“We used to have our offices in New York, and we used to operate from Ivory Coast and South Africa, but we had to close some of the offices for lack of funds.
“Before, Reuters used to quote from NAN. We were the only source of information.
“But today, we quote from Reuters about what is happening in Nigeria and it should be the other way round.
“If you want to change the narrative of your own country, you must have a very powerful News Agency. It is very important both for our image abroad,’’ he said.
He further said that following so much false information on the social media, there was a need to strengthen the agency to compete favourably in view of its credibility.
The minister further called for funding of other agencies under the ministry, including Nigeria television authority (NTA), Voice of Nigeria (VON), Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN).
He said the agencies were strategic in their various functions in the restructuring of Nigeria. (NAN)