Tayo AFOLABI

 

Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture said the 35,000 U.S. dollars (about N19.2 million) deposit being requested by Egyptian Authority from foreigners including Nigerians to operate a business enterprise in that country, negates the unity that bound African countries together.

The meeting was on the sideline of a bilateral discussion with Africa Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) on how Nigeria can access funding to support its growing creative industry.

Mohammed had led some private sector stakeholders involved in Digital Switch Over (DSO) to Afreximbank to assist them on how they can source funds to complete the wholly private sector financially driven project.

Speaking at the meeting organized by the Nigerian Ambassador to Egypt, Malam Nura Rimi, the minister described the condition as unacceptable .

He, therefore, promised to take the matter up with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema and other relevant bodies upon his return to Nigeria.

The minister also decried the high number of Nigerian children out of school in Egypt owing to the language barrier and non-availability of registered Nigerian schools in Cairo.

The Nigerian community had told the minister that the official language for teaching in Egypt is Arabic and the few private schools being run by the British and America in that country were exorbitant.

They said no fewer than 7,000 Nigerian children in Egypt were out of school and therefore appealed for the construction of a Nigerian school in Cairo.

They also told the minister that because many of them could not afford the mandatory 35,000 dollars deposit, their businesses had been labeled illegal while they were subjected to regular harassment and arrest by Egyptian security officials.

Meanwhile, the minister has appealed to the Nigerian community in Egypt to disregard most of the negative news about Nigeria, especially on social media.

According to him, most of the news being received abroad about Nigeria are fake news.

Lai Mohammed said the country is at peace and the people are living harmoniously.

“There is no country without its challenges, we are facing our own just like Egypt did some. years back and they are out of it now.

“In Nigeria, we have the challenge of banditry, Boko Haram, and militants but that does not mean that Nigeria is at war.

“Nigeria in the last six years has been making tremendous developmental progress in infrastructure development, agriculture, aviation and other fields of endeavor.

“Unfortunately, the noise of the mischief-makers have drowned the laudable success of the administration

“I want to assure every one of you here that whatever problem we have in Nigeria has nothing to do with religion or ethnicity,” he said.

The minister stressed that in spite of the security and economic challenges that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was facing, it recorded tremendous achievements in many areas.

He listed some of the giant strides of the administration in roads, bridges, rail infrastructure as well as in agriculture, particularly self-sufficiency in rice.

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