Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has labelled those criticising President Muhammadu Buhari over the state economy as ignorant.
He spoke Thursday at the ongoing 18th edition of the PMB scorecard series.
Mohammad insisted that the government has done well in the past eight years and as such, deserves another opportunity to further deliver dividends of democracy to Nigerians.
In his words, “Critics of the Administration are wont to say that while it has done well in the area of infrastructure, it has not fared well in the area of the economy. With due respect, statements like this are borne out of ignorance.
“Let me say that the Buhari Administration is ready to deliver another dividend of democracy to Nigerians. As you are aware, the much-ballyhooed Second Niger Bridge has been completed and will soon be commissioned. Well, I am happy to announce today that another highly-valuable bridge and road are ready for commissioning in the next few weeks.
“I am talking here of the 2.055km Loko-Oweto Bridge over River Benue and the 74-kilometre Nasarawa-Loko Road linking Nasarawa and Benue States. The road and the bridge are a game changer and economy-booster for the two states in particular and the nation in general.
“As you are aware, critics of the Administration are wont to say that while it has done well in the area of infrastructure, it has not fared well in the area of the economy. With due respect, statements like this are borne out of ignorance. This is because infrastructure is a key driver of economic development, meaning that when you are building modern infrastructure as this Administration is doing, you are actually putting in place the building blocks of economic and social development. When you are constructing roads and bridges, you create jobs as you will employ workers, you trigger economic activities as you will buy sand, granite, cement and other construction materials, you create a mini-economy around the construction site as food sellers and others converge there to cater to the needs of the workers.
“Let me illustrate this further with the Nasarawa-Loko Road and the Loko-Oweto Bridge. These infrastructures alone have cut the journey from the Eastern part of the country to Abuja by three hours! Travellers coming from Enugu to Abuja today, who have no business in Lafia, can come straight to Abuja via Keffi, thereby saving three hours as a result of the completion of this bridge and its access road. Also, the 74-kilometre road linking Loko to Keffi used to take about 3 hours because it was an earth road. Today, however, with the completion of the road, the same journey takes only 30 minutes. With the saying that time is money, you can then imagine the economic implication of the time saved. Secondly, the road and the bridge projects came with the electrification of the communities around there. The provision of electricity means more economic activities for the people and, of course, more jobs
“Thirdly, the communities traversed by these facilities, which are agrarian and fishing communities, have received economic boost and reduction in waste as they can more easily evacuate their products and also preserve them. And lastly, the communities, now provided with better access through the road and the bridge, are witnessing an increase in mining activities, farming, fishing, trading, etc. The Nasarawa-Loko Road and the Loko-Oweto Bridge are clear testimonies to the role of infrastructure in economic and social development.”