The Federal Government plans to spend over N2billion on various propaganda activities by the information ministry and other agencies on hate speech, fake news and sundry vices during the year, a review of some provisions in the Appropriation Act 2021 has revealed.
The N13.59trillion Budget of ‘Economic Recovery and Resilience’ was prepared with the objectives of accelerating the country’s economic recovery process, promoting social inclusion and strengthening the resilience of the economy.
To realise these objectives, about N2billion has been provided in the approved appropriation to finance various propaganda campaigns by various government agencies to mobilize support for the government and sensitize the people against some growing socio-cultural vices in the society.
Some of the sundry societal vices include herders-farmers conflict, armed banditry, rape and religious intolerance.
Societal vices and faces of propaganda
The Cambridge English Dictionary defines propaganda as “information, ideas, opinions, or images broadcast, published, or spread (often by politicians and the government) with the intention of influencing people’s opinions
Propaganda can be part of the mainstream news media, including music, magazines, movies, and television shows to appeal to fear, statements of prejudice, black and white fallacies, disinformation, demonizing the enemy, flag waving, intentional vagueness, over-simplification, and scapegoating.
Also, fake news are news or stories created to deliberately misinform or deceive readers and influence views for political motives.
The herder-famer conflicts’ in Nigeria have been as a result of disputes over land resources between opposing religious groups, mostly Muslim Fulani herders and Christian farmers across.
Violent conflicts and attacks between the herders and farmers have claimed the lives of several thousands of Nigerians and displaced several communities in the last three years.
Federal Ministry of Information budget
During the year, the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture plans to spend over N336million on special enlightenment campaigns on government policies and programmes; testimonial series to gauge the impact of government policies on the citizenry.
The ministry also plans to embark on advocacy campaigns to sensitize the people against the ills of fake news, hate speech, farmers-herder clashes, banditry, rape and other such vices in the society.
During the year, the ministry has budgeted another N4million to host the ongoing annual stakeholder convention with clients and media executives to deliberate on government policies and programmes.
An additional N10.3million has been set aside for the production and publication of the book on research and documentation of traditional hairdo and food cuisine in Nigeria.
The ministry will spend over N295million on media interventions on contingency national issues, like National Assembly resolutions, executive orders, and matters on ministries, departments and agencies.
Other details of the budgeted spending by the ministry during the year include about N94.5million on institutional interaction with Nigerian Union of Journalists, National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Nigeria Guild of Editors, Radio Television and Technical Art Workers Union (RATTAWU), bloggers, online publishers, Newspaper Publishers Association of Nigeria (NPAN) and weekly ministerial press briefings on government policies and programmes.
This is outside another N70.3million to be spent on facilitating ministerial media appearances for the 36 ministers, influencers and analysts on radio and television as well as social and print-media as well as over N174million to be spent on hosting town hall meetings across the country on topical issues.
About N79.3 million has been budgeted for quarterly interaction with foreign media and public relations lobby on ongoing government projects and programmes; N75.5million nationwide opinion poll survey on government policies and programmes; N51.6million to be spent on the production of Federal Government wall calendars.
The Ministry also plans to spend N168.6million to tour government infrastructural projects to showcase the achievements of the present administration; N18.4million on hosting and management of the ministry’s website (www.fmic.gov.ng).
Expenses by related agencies
In addition to what the Ministry plans to spend, the National Orientation Agency (NOA), the official propaganda arm of the Federal Government, is to spend N36.017million on security sensitization and reorientation programme against political thuggery, kidnapping, drug addiction, radicalization and violent extremism.
The agency also plans to spend another N52.03million on communicating government policies, programmes and activities during the year and another N14.6million on monitoring and evaluation of the ministry’s projects and programmes.
Besides, the National Film and Video Censors Board plans to spend about N194.8million on hate speech and the role of film and National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) Forum, in addition to N161.6million to be used in acquiring and distributing I-Pads for selected youths in Lagos for media literacy against hate speech and banditry.