The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) on Monday stated that the Nigerian press has enjoyed unfettered access to information, ably aided by the Freedom of Information Act under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The group made this known while reacting to the former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar’s comments where he raised issues on the repression of the press, persecution of judges, poverty level and high cost of governance in the country.
“I could call for prayers, as others would indeed call for today. I could also call on Nigerians to show more understanding, as indeed many have said in the past and will undoubtedly say again today. But I am mindful of the fact that the time for rhetoric has long since passed and now is the time for all lovers of Nigeria to take concrete steps to aid Nigeria’s progress, by not just praying and showing understanding, but also to take democratic action to ensure that the ideals of our founding fathers – Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress – are not set aside on the altar of tyranny.
“All is not well when judges are persecuted for enforcing the constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human rights of Nigerian citizens. All is not well when Nigeria is now officially the world headquarters for extreme poverty and out of school children, yet the cost of maintaining those in government continues to grow, while the needs of the governed are not being met. And certainly, all is not well when the media cannot freely express itself without the fear that those who wield the big stick would use it on them for saying things as they are,” Atiku stated.
Reacting in a statement signed by its Chairman, Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary, Cassidy Madueke, the group described Atiku Abubakar’s views as myopic.
BMO said: “Since President Buhari assumed power, the Nigerian press has enjoyed unfettered access to information, ably aided by the Freedom of Information Act.
“It is also worthy of note that contrary to Atiku’s assertion that the Judiciary is being hampered under the present administration, judges are free to deliver judgements and such judgements are promptly obeyed by the Buhari administration as it believes in the rule of law.
“Perhaps we need to re-state that President Muhammadu Buhari, in his quest for the Presidency of Nigeria, had pursued his case through the courts up to the highest court in the land, and this is a clear evidence of his faith in the Judiciary.”
BMO also noted that the President Buhari administration had taken steps to reduce poverty, especially with the Social Investment Programmes (SIPs) which have gained international acclaim and recognition.
“Similarly, the engagement of hundreds of thousands of Nigerians in agriculture, based on the support being provided by the Buhari administration has significantly reduced the poverty level that various PDP administrations bequeathed to Nigerians after being in charge for sixteen years.
“Obviously, these are deliberate policies and programmes put in place by the Buhari administration to alleviate poverty in the land and it is still work in progress,” the group said.