The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected what it described as moves by President Muhammadu Buhari-led and All Progressives Congress (APC) administration to gag the media.
At a media briefing in Abuja on Sunday, the spokesman for the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party said that freedom of expression, as guaranteed by the nation’s constitution, cannot be subjugated by the federal government under any guise.
The PDP’s reaction is coming on the heels of the moves by the government to impose stringent regulations on online media and broadcast organisations.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, had, in a statement last week hinted of stringent measures to regulate the operations of social media in the country.
But the PDP said the move is completely obnoxious, anti-democratic and a direct violation of statutory rules governing media practice and freedom of expression in the country.
The main opposition party 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 the nation.
“Our party alerts that such moves amount to an attempt to amend our constitution through the back door, to take away the rights of citizens and undermine our democratic institutions; a development that has the capacity to destabilise our dear nation.
“The PDP invites Nigerians to note that this dictatorial pathways, which the Buhari Presidency seeks to impose, if allowed, will herald the gradual emasculation of freedom of expression, repression of free press, infringements on the rights of citizens and foisting of siege mentality on the people”, Ologbondiyan said.
The spokesman added that Nigerians are already apprehensive that the directive is geared towards clearing the ground for the introduction of certain harsh policies in country.
The party insisted that the 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.
It called on members of the National Assembly, as the representatives of the people, to reject such presidential directive in the interest of the nation.
The party also cautioned President Muhammadu Buhari and his advisers not to derail the nation with such undemocratic policies.
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