In the wake of World Press Freedom day held on May3rd 2016, Presiden Muhammadu Buhari said Journalists in Nigeria enjoy press freedom and neither arrested, harassed nor unlawfully detained. Lie!
According to President Muhammadu Buhari, “My administration has never even contemplated the harassing, not to mention killing, of any journalist. The media represents the eyes and ears of the world and attempts to silence it through harassment, arrests, detention and murder of journalists, is akin to making the world go blind and deaf.
“I can report to this congress (Congress of the Federation of African Journalists) that not a single journalist is being detained or harassed in Nigeria today. This government is not a threat to the media, and it is not about to stifle press freedom or deny anyone his or her constitutionally guaranteed rights.
This was a big fat lie!
According to a renowned NGO, Committee to Protect Journalists, Its West African representative, Peter Nkanga, stated that “Buhari’s claim that the current government has not harassed any journalist is far from the truth. Nothing has changed from the attacks on the press we have witnessed in the last 16 years, since our return to democracy in 1999.”
“Attacks are still ongoing, with the greatest level of impunity you can think of,” Nkanga said.
The same day President Buhari made is infamous speech on press freedom, The Kaduna State Police command charged reporter Jacob Onjewu Dickson with incitement over a story that angry young people stoned and booed Governor Nasir El-Rufai on 27 April, Africa Check reports.
The journalist is still in detention, unlawfully.
In another event, Muhammad Atta-Kafin-Dangi, a journalist with Radio Nigeria, was viciously attacked for attempting to cover a protest staged by commercial motorcyclists (Okada).
According to Atta, “I was just trying to get actualities at Kuje junction in Gwagwalada where Okada riders are protesting,” a news report quoted Atta-Kafin-Dangi as saying after the incident. I was kicked, beaten, pushed, squeezed along with the suspects they arrested and jam packed in an hilux van (sic).”
On June 25, was severely beaten inside the Nigerian Customs Service offices in Badagry.
Yomi Olomofe, the publisher of Prime Magazine was investigating reports that customs officials on the Nigeria-Benin border were assisting smugglers. He recived the beating of his life.
In all of these, Buhari said nothing. Time will fail us to talk of gagging of radio Biafra and its leader, Emmanuel Elebeke, and many more in one detention center or the other.
Conclusion: Buhari’s assertion that ‘no single journalist’ is neither harassed nor detained is a lie.