PDP berates Buhari over moves to gag media, freedom of speech

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Sunday berated President Muhammadu Buhari over plans to afflict the media with undemocratic reforms.

The PDP in a statement by Kola Ologbondiyan, National Publicity Secretary, rejected the moves by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) Federal Government to further gag the media, subjugate Nigerians and curtail their constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression.

The PDP contested that the decision by President Buhari 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 PDP also rejected 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.

The PDP protested that such moves amount to an attempt to amend the constitution to take away the rights of citizens and undermine democratic institutions in the country; adding: a development that has the capacity to destabilize the nation.

The PDP invited Nigerians to note that this dictatorial pathways which the Buhari Presidency seeks to impose, if allowed, will herald the gradual emasculation of freedom of expression, repression of 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,” PDP noted.

The party insisted that the constitution has made enough provisions to guide media practice as well as the exercise of freedom of expression, adding that the foisting of unconstitutional and suppressive regulations is not acceptable under any guise.

The PDP, therefore, called on the members of the National Assembly, as representatives of the people, to reject this Presidential directive in the interest of the nation.

The party also cautioned President Muhammadu Buhari and his advisers not to derail the nation with such undemocratic policies.