A Senior Advocate of Nigeria and Constitutional Lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari not to deny Nigerians their God-given freedom of speech the same way he has denied Nigerians food on their table.
Chief Ozekhome stated this while reacting to the accusation by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, that the Nigerian media is “promoting hate speeches” and not supporting the government.
Ozekhome while fielding questions from Sun explained that, reporting an event could not amount to hate speech.
“you are merely narrating an event that took place and in the write-up, some of us told the President what to do.
“for instance, we told him to relocate the Inspector General of Police and send the military there because the police do not have the capacity to curtail the issue.
“The military should be redeployed to States like Benue, Taraba and Plateau the way they were taken to Umuahia when IPOB was exiting.
“So, if you make a comparative analysis of what is happening, how does it amount to hate speech? Except if they want to finally want to take away our freedom of speech in this country because they have already taken away the food from our table.
“If they want to take away our God-given freedom of speech, then they have to tell us.
“The media is the fourth estate of the realm and it the only entity empowered by Section 22 of the 1999 Constitution to hold the government accountable and responsible to the people of Nigeria.
The media’s job is to keep government on its toes. Did the media not keep Goodluck Jonathan on its toes and he was subsequently removed, in preference to President Muhammadu Buhari?
“The All Progressive Congress (APC) leveraged and used the media effectively to oust Jonathan; so, why are they suddenly getting touchy about how the media reports events? Do they not know that what goes around comes around?
“The media was carrying out its constitutional responsibility and when Jonathan was overwhelmed, he threw in the towel even before the results last were announced.
“The government would be joking to expect every media in Nigeria to support it.”