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As reactions from well meaning Nigerians, both at home and abroad are still trailing the banning of coverage of African Independent Television of President-Elect, General Muhammadu Buhari’s programmes of activities until further notice, a human rights group in Nigeria, the Centre for Human Rights and Social Justice (CHRSJ) has strongly condemned Buhari’s action over the plan to resuscitate the anti-democratic ethos in a democratic setting, noting that General Buhari’s action shown that the President-elect has hidden agenda in governance of this country for the next four years.
The rights group however declared that General Buhari should be tutored on how to conduct the act of governance in a democratic era, believing that democracy was new in the President-Elect dictionary and strange to his nature because of his military dictatorship background, stressing that the Freedom of Press is one of the ground norms of entrenching democracy in the world.
The group therefore urged the genuine pro-democracy Nigerians to stand up to be ready to defend our current democratic experiment before the anti-democratic forces returned the country back to the dark days of military era where freedom of expression were withdrawn through draconian decree of 1984.
Reacting to the development through a signed statement by the Centre’s Executive Chairman, Comrade Adeniyi, Alimi Sulaiman, which a copy was made available to newsmen in Lagos Tuesday, maintained that Buhari has goofed with the decision of banning the respected media station from covering his (Buhari) activities till further notice, describing the banning of AIT by the President-Elect as undemocratic, illegal, evil, ungodly, anti-masses and anti-development which should not be allowed to stand in a democracy, saying that General Buhari lacks moral right and constitutional justification to ban any media outfit from coverage of his activities since he elected as the next President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for period of another four years.
His words: “Nigeria people, particularly, the men of fourth estate of realm should be extreme careful now with this present development from Buhari, the President-Elect so as to avoid being the first victim of Buhari’s government after inauguration in May 29th, 2015. Buhari should know that this is a democracy where there is no privacy for any political leader.
When Mrs. Turai Yaradua, the wife of Late President Yaradua, declared that She has power on her husband, Nigeria people told her that her husband, was President of Nigeria people and they ought to know the where about of their President, which shows that no privacy for General Muhammadu Buhari in a democratic setting again until he finishes his term of office in 2019.”
Comrade Sulaiman also declared that the functional media sector of a country was the basis where the genuine democracy rest on, urged Mr. President-Elect to be ready to uphold the democratic ethos and values and demonstrate strong believe in our democratic institutions by seeking any redress of his(Buhari) grievances in the court of law.
CHRSJ boss condemned the illegal clamp down of media outfit by the President-Elect, General Muhammadu Buhari and urged him (Buhari) to do the right step by rescinding the decision immediately within the twenty-four hours(24hrs) and as well tender unreserved public apology to the Nigeria citizens.
Supporting his position with the provision of 1999 constitution as amended in section 22 which stated that: “the press, radio, television and other agencies of mass media shall at all times be free to uphold the fundamental objectives contained in this chapter and uphold the responsibility and accountability of the government to the people.”
By virtue of this provision, the constitutional powers and duties or obligation of the press are to help government realize the fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy as contained in the constitution. The media or the press is also expected to uphold the responsibility and accountability of the government to the people.
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