Urges NASS to reject government’s directive
By Dirisu Yakubu
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has again accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) led federal government of plotting to gag the media, subjugate Nigerians and curtail their constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression.
This was contained in a statement issued on Sunday by the national publicity secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan.
According to the statement, the decision by the government to impose stringent regulations on online media and broadcast organisations as recently announced by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, “is completely obnoxious, anti-democratic and a direct violation of statutory rules governing media practice and freedom of expression in Nigeria.”
The statement further read: “The PDP also rejects the Presidential declaration of political comments as “Class A” offence, insisting that such is designed to undermine the nation’s constitutional democracy, exterminate the rights of citizens to dissenting public opinion, emasculate the opposition and foist a dictatorship and one-party system on our nation.
“Our party alerts that such moves amount to an attempt to amend our constitution to take away the rights of citizens and undermine our democratic institutions; a development that has the capacity to destabilize our dear nation.
“The PDP invites Nigerians to note that these dictatorial pathways which the Buhari Presidency seeks to impose if allowed, will herald the gradual emasculation of freedom of expression, repression of a free press, infringements on the rights of citizens and foisting of siege mentality on the people.
“Nigerians are already apprehensive that the directive is geared towards clearing the ground for the introduction of certain harsh policies in our country.
“The party insists that our constitution has made enough provisions to guide media practice as well as the exercise of freedom of expression, and foisting of unconstitutional and suppressive regulations is not acceptable under any guise.”
The party called on members of the National Assembly, as the representatives of the people, to reject this Presidential directive in the interest of our nation.
The Information Minister recently announced that henceforth any broadcast of information considered as hate speech would attract a fine of N5 million.