Nigeria seeks new global image

Nigeria has launched a campaign to improve its battered international image for corruption and crime.

“The re-branding campaign is holistically targeted at reorientating Nigerians towards a belief in themselves and their country once again,” President Umaru Yar’Adua said in a statement read by his deputy Goodluck Jonathan late on Tuesday.

“It is also aimed at changing the negative perception of our country both locally and internationally,” Yar’Adua said.

Despite efforts by successive administrations, Nigeria, the world’s eighth biggest oil producer, is widely perceived as corrupt, crime-infested and insecure.

Previous image campaigns had titles such as “Ethical Revolution”, “War Against Indiscipline” and “Heart of Africa” but achieved little.

Information Minister Dora Akunyili said the new project would succeed. “We cannot be afraid to try again even when we failed” in the past.

“At different international airports, in the trains, in shopping malls and almost everywhere every Nigerian is a marked person. We are pulled aside for questioning.
We are seen as potential drug pushers or fraudsters,” she said.

The minister said: “Nigeria cannot wait until it solves all her problems before it can stand to give serious thought to re-branding its battered image.

“This is because our development is tied to our image. This negative perception has had destructive effects on our people and stymied our growth and national progress,” she added.

The minister said the government has approved 150-million naira ($1-million) for the project.—AFP

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