Atiku Condemns Media Clampdown Says It portends grave danger to our democracy
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has condemned the clampdown on media
houses, vendors and seizures of newspapers in transit for delivery by
military personnel nationwide.
In a press statement issued by his media office in Abuja on Saturday, the
former Vice President expressed worry at what he called the 'humiliating
treatment of media houses and vendors in the course of conducting their
legitimate businesses nationwide.'
He reminded that Nigeria is a democracy, and freedom of the press is a
non-negotiable component of democratic governments.
According to Atiku, since the military is not above the law in any
democratic society, they should not be the law onto themselves and
recklessly infringe on the rights of citizens.
He explained that if the newspapers are engaged in any illegal activities
that breach national security, there are avenues of dealing with such
situation without brazenly violating the rights of citizens.
The Turaki Adamawa said thousands of Journalists, drivers, distributors,
vendors and other support staff are daily making a living from the
newspaper industry, and therefore, the military personnel should not stop
them from earning a legitimate earning.
The former Vice President also noted that the willful violations of
citizens' rights by military and other security personnel breach the
tenets of democratic system.
He warned that by attacking the press, and arresting journalists, the
country may inadvertently be slowing edging back to the dark days of
military dictatorship, which took a lot of sacrifices by many including
the Press to end.
While condemning the excesses of the military, however, Atiku advised
media organizations to also demonstrate the highest degree of
responsibility by ensuring that what they publish didn't endanger national
In the face of the grim security challenges currently bedeviling Nigeria,
the former Vice President also cautioned Journalists and media
practitioners against abuses.
He stressed that the war on terror needs citizens' and press' cooperation,
which may be hampered by the harassment of the press.
'The military and other security personnel should work harmoniously
together in times of national crises. Security require sacrifices and
understanding from all Nigerians, and the Press are no exception.
'Our media men and women should at every turn, weigh the implications of
everything they intend to publish, especially sensitive stories that could
undermine national security,' he said.