According to the nation’s main opposition party, moves by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) administration to impose stringent regulations on online media and broadcast organizations must be rejected by all well-meaning Nigerians.
The party said government’s decision 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.”
A statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, also said the PDP is totally against 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 spokesman said; “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 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.”
Insisting that the Nigerian constitution has made enough provisions to guide media practice as well as the exercise of freedom of expression, the PDP said; “the foisting of unconstitutional and suppressive regulations is not acceptable under any guise.”
The Party therefore urged National Assembly members, “as the representatives of the people, to reject this Presidential directive in the interest of our nation.”
It also cautioned the President and his advisers against derailing “the nation with such undemocratic policies.”