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Clampdown on journalists: Total breakdown of democratic tolerance – Adegboruwa

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Eminent lawyer and human rights activist, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, has expressed fears over the recent clampdown on the media by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government, saying the situation is a ‘tip of the iceberg.’

DAILY POST recalls that the police, on Thursday raided Premium Times head office in Abuja, and arrested the newspaper’s publisher, Dapo Olorunyomi, alongside the paper’s judiciary correspondent, Evelyn Okakwu

According to the lawyer, events unfolding in the present administration would suggest a total breakdown of democratic tolerance.

In a statement on Friday, Adegboruwa noted Nigerians are in for more difficult time, adding that one riding on the back of a tiger should not rejoice carelessly.

He said, “I had warned, from the very first day of Inauguration on May 29, 2015, that this particular government has no plan for the restructuring and prosperity of Nigeria.

“Many of my comrades believed and stated otherwise. Obviously, their views were driven by the sour experiences of the immediate past administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, which in the time of prosperity, could not salvage Nigeria.

“I, however, was quick to point out to them then, that the All Progressives Congress, APC, was only playing on the expectation of Nigerians for good governance, but had no genuine intention of transforming Nigeria, but rather to capture power for the sake of relevance.

“The aphorism is true as true can be, namely that, when you ride on the back of the tiger, do not rejoice carelessly, as you may one day end up in its belly.

“It is clear to me that after the euphoria of anti-corruption war would have suffered it’s inevitable death, the hawks will take the war to the gates of their “allies”.

“And that’s why we must all stand up to resist this civilian dictatorship, because nobody knows who is next in line.

“The point that I’ve struggled to make all these many months of the Buhari regime, is that all actions of government should follow due process and the rule of law and that there should be no discrimination in the application of law.

“It is in the light of the foregoing that I strongly condemn the crackdown on the media, by the APC led administration. It started with Bloggers and has now moved steadily to social media practitioners and it will eventually get to the traditional mainstream media. It will not spare the political “allies”, the preferred civil society groups, the loyal activists and even the prayerful faith based entities.

“However, we must not tolerate this clampdown on the media and the opposition, because anytime a government gets this desperate to silence the critical voices of the media, then there is hidden agenda. The media has the constitutional responsibility, imposed on it by section 22 of the Constitution, to hold government accountable to the people.

“Without any doubt whatsoever, doubting media practitioners would all have seen by now, that the present government is totally clueless and so very much insincere, about its much trumpeted commitment to “Change.”

“The freedom of speech and the press is expressly guaranteed under section 39 of the Constitution as a fundamental right and so no government should be allowed to muzzle the media or the opposition, as a way of covering its secrets or enthroning a regime of dictatorship.

“Let all journalists be free to report, let the opposition be accommodated to criticize constructively and let all rights and liberties guaranteed by law, be respected and protected.

“If there be any alleged infraction of the law, whether by journalists, politicians, lawyers or even the military, let such be dealt with according to law and due process.”

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