The Nigerian government has slammed United Kingdom-based magazine, The Economist, over its report on the government’s anti-indiscipline campaign: Change Begins With Me.

President Muhammadu Buhari launched the campaign on September 8, calling on citizens to imbibe new values and change attitudinally before demanding the “change” which he had promised.

But in a report titled: ”Nigeria’s war against indiscipline, Behave or be whipped” – on September 24, The Economist blistered the new campaign.

Locally, the campaign had met with criticisms that – the idea was not original; Mr. Buhari plagiarized parts of his speech during the launch; and that the President was trying to shift burden of “change” promise.

Days after the magazine’s critical report, Nigerian government through the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, reacted on Wednesday. Mr. Mohammed described The Economist’s as “racist” and one characterized by “embellishment”.

“Contrary to the newspaper’s self-professed belief in ”plain language”, the article in question, from the headline to the body, is a master-piece of embellishment or dressed-up language,” said Mr. Mohammed.

“It is loaded with innuendos and decidedly pejorative at best, and downright racist at worst.

“The Economist wrote that President Buhari wants to ”tame” Nigerians with the ”Change Begins With Me” Campaign. For those who are the owners of the English language, the use of that word is unpardonable, “The verb ”tame” suggests that Nigerians are some kind of wild animals that must be domesticated, and the usage reveals the mindset of the authors of the article: a deliberate put-down of a whole people under the guise of criticising a government policy,” he added.


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