Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, SAN, said the Federal Government was set to end impunity for crimes against members of the public, including journalists.
Malami’s declaration was contained in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Dr Umar Gwandu, in Abuja on Sunday.
In a message to commemorate the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, the Minister said it was gratifying to note that Nigeria was no longer among the countries with impunity for crimes against journalists.
The day is a UN-recognized international day observed annually on November 2.
The day directs attention to the low global conviction rate for violent crimes against journalists and media workers, estimated at only one in every ten case
The 2020 global index for impunity for crimes against journalists by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), released on October 28 indicated that Nigeria is the only country that came off the index from 2019.
He described the achievement as a result of deliberate and committed efforts of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration through the implementation of many reforms in the Nigerian justice sector.
These, he said, included increased access to justice, speedy justice dispensation, decongesting of Nigeria’s correctional centers and judicious implementation of the Criminal Justice Act and Justice Sector reforms.
The AGF expressed optimism that with the solid foundation of reformed justice sector to be bequeathed by the Buhari Administration, never again will Nigeria feature among nations where journalists, citizens and inhabitants of the country will suffer from any form of impunity in the future.
He was quoted to have said: “The recent developments in Nigeria’s international arbitration against P&ID and some international oil companies are but indicators of the resolute determination of the federal government to bring to an end an era of impunity and lack of adherence to due diligence and rule of law in governmental operations’’.
He recalled that in the last decade, before the advent of the present administration, Nigeria was ranked 13th across the globe and used to be among the top three African countries with impunity for crimes against journalists only after Somalia and South Sudan.
While expressing commitment to maintain the tempo, Malami added that there is no room for complacency in ensuring serene online and offline atmosphere of journalism practice in the country.
He noted that with the development of information and communication technology and the internet forming veritable tools for mass communication, the government is working to ensure safety of journalists against rhetorical aggression, trolling, incursion of privacy, phishing and cyber attacks.
“With the implementation of the Cybercrime Act 2015, the incidences of cyber related crimes would be minimised,” he stated.
He urged journalists to adhere strictly to the ethical provisions of their profession and refrain from misinformation and fake news.