Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, has declared that referring to President Muhammadu Buhari as a general and dictator is an affront to press freedom.
When executives of the International Press Institute (IPI), Nigeria branch paid him a courtesy call at his office in Abuja on Tuesday, April 12, Lai insisted that the current administration in Nigeria is not a danger to the media.
Despite the misuse of press freedom, the Minister argued, those who perpetrated it remained to practise their profession unhindered.
“I remember saying at the opening of the 2016 IPI World Congress in Qatar that the government of the day in Nigeria is not a threat to the media, and that it is not about to stifle press freedom or deny anyone his or her constitutionally-guaranteed rights. “That statement remains true today as it was then. I even told the congress that the Nigerian media have no reason to fear the government, and that — if anything — it is the government that is at the mercy of the media. That, too, remains true today. “After all, this must be one of the very few countries in the world where a section of the media can refuse to recognise popular sovereignty, or how does one describe a situation in which a president who was duly elected by millions of Nigeria is willfully stripped of that title, president, and then cheekily cloaked in the garb of a dictator by playing up his military title? “Despite that abuse of press freedom, those doing that have continued to practise their profession without hindrance.”