The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected alleged moves by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) Federal Government to “further gag the media, subjugate Nigerians and curtail their constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression”.
The party says the decision by President Buhari administration to impose stringent regulations on online media and broadcast organizations as recently announced by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, is completely ‘obnoxious, anti-democratic’, adding that it is a direct violation of statutory rules governing media practice and freedom of expression in Nigeria.
The PDP in a statement by its spokesman, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan 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.
“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 PDP invites 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 a free press, infringements on the rights of citizens and foisting of siege mentality on the people.
“Nigerians are already apprehensive that the directive is geared towards clearing the ground for the introduction of certain harsh policies in our country.
“The party insists that our constitution has made enough provisions to guide media practice as well as the exercise of freedom of expression, adding that the foisting of unconstitutional and suppressive regulations is not acceptable under any guise,” the party spokesman said.
The PDP called on the members of the National Assembly, as the representatives of the people, to reject what the party termed as a presidential directive which is not in the interest of the nation.