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PDP warns of alleged moves by govt to gag media, curtail freedom of speech

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected supposed moves by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) government to “gag the media, subjugate Nigerians and curtail their constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression.”

It said should the “dictatorial pathway,” which the Buhari Presidency seeks to impose be allowed, that it would 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.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed had recently hinted that the online media space in Nigeria will soon be regulated.

Mohammed, who spoke on October 10, 2019 in Abuja, during the inauguration of a seven-man committee set up to implement reforms in the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) had among other things said the terms of reference of the committee was to “establish and publish a new regulation for the licensing of web and internet broadcasters/international broadcasters in Nigeria”.

But in statement on Sunday by its national spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP argued that the decision by President Buhari “to impose stringent” regulations on online media and broadcast organisations as recently announced by Mohammed was “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.

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“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 party, therefore, called on Nigerians to note that “this dictatorial pathway 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.”

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Ebere Ndukwu

Ebere is a lover of investigative journalism, always seeking to unearth the hidden.

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