At last, media silencing, which is the prime and principal target any infamous dictator around the globe strives earnestly and persistently to realise, has been successfully and proficiently completed by President Muhammadu Buhari. Buhari who is globally reputed to be the leading dictator in the African continent today, prior to the series of reports of genocidal acts he has committed against world’s most peaceful freedom fighting outfit, the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, as proclaimed and confessed by Amnesty International, has finally bought and influenced the media over to play to his tune.
This can be confirmed with the absence of all Nigerian media houses(even the miniatures), in the last two court cases dated 13th and 20th February, 2018, regarding the Indigenous People of Biafra. From reports of eyewitnesses who attended the recent court sittings, both at the ECOWAS and Federal High Courts, it was gathered that no single media outlet in Nigeria was present unlike when they used to flood the court premises. This further brings a big question mark on the conduct and modus operandi of Nigerian media platforms, whether they are practicing media sectionalism which stands as a form of media biasness in the world.
If such an epic and monumental court session which the local and international public has interests on was not covered by Nigerian mainstream media platforms such as; Vanguard, The Nation, The Sun, Dailypost, Punch, etc, then the sincerity and authenticity in their news especially in matters involving IPOB, should be thoroughly scrutinized and perused before consumption.
It should be recalled that the president has on several occasions, barred journalists and threatened to deal with their media outlets and their family members, if they fail to heed to his instructions to refrain from reporting the activities of IPOB. This has resulted in his hosting of several unannounced secret meetings with journalists, Editors and the executives of different media houses in the country.
With these recent developments, it seems the Nigerian media has taken a bow due to the trumped up harassments against her journalists in Nigeria which are orchestrated by President Buhari through her Armed Forces. There has never been a time in history when Buhari, even during the military era, allowed freedom of press.
During his first regime as the military Head of State, he was known for his extensive infringement on the freedom of Press. In 1984, the president passed what he called Decree Number 4, which has its theme as Protection Against False Accusations Decree. The Section one of that decree has it that “Any person who publishes in any form, whether written or otherwise, any message, rumour, report or statement which is false in any material particular or which brings or is calculated to bring the Federal Military Government or the Government of a State or public officer to ridicule or disrepute, shall be guilty of an offence under this Decree”. This law was seen as the worst most suppressive press law ever enacted in the history of Nigeria. Tunde Thompson and Nduka lrabor of The Guardian Newspaper were among the many journalists that were jailed at these trying period. It is notably admissible that his regime jailed its critics such as the popular artiste, Fela Kuti who voiced out Buhari’s atrocities in his song titled “Beast of no Nation”.
Now, returning for the second time as a civilian president, Buhari after considering the masses discerning and dissent opinions against him, came out in the open to declare himself a “repented soul”. But not so long after his success in clinching the presidential seat, that he displayed his chameleonic behavior. First, he banned AIT from covering his activities, saying that AIT was biased at the build-up to the presidential election that brought him to power. Under his watch, two journalists, namely, Enemaku Ojochigbe of AIT and Taye Adeni of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), were seriously brutalised. Even the journalist that came to cover the commissioning of the Dry Port at Kakuri was denied access by the combined team of the army, the mobile police, the DSS and the Civil Defence.
To buttress this, the NAN reporter who was punched in the face by the police was rushed to the Red Cross mobile treatment bay for first aid. On 1st June, 2015, police officers in Abuja, attacked Muhammad Atta-Kafin-Dangi, a journalist with Radio Nigeria, for attempting to cover a protest staged by commercial motorcyclists(Okada). Atta was beaten, kicked, pushed and squeezed along with the suspects in a hilux van. Yomi Olomofe, the publisher of Prime Magazine was also severely beaten inside the Nigerian Customs Service bureaus in Badagry. He was beaten until he lost consciousness. In November, officers of the Nigerian Prisons Service reportedly beat up Vanguard Newspaper journalist, Emmanuel Elebeke, at an Abuja High Court after he took pictures of three murder suspects.
According to news sources, officials of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps attacked and arrested three journalists in Owerri, Imo State. Nnamdi Ofonye of Silverbird TV and Tope Kuteyi of Channels TV and many others cannot finish narrating their experiences under President Buhari’s regime of brutalising journalists and members of the press.
At the recent court session held on February 20, 2018, an officer of the Department of State Services, DSS, was heard and seen, giving a stern warning to an independent journalist to stop reporting Nnamdi Kanu’s cases as instructed by the Federal government. One wonders where this country is heading to when journalists are banned from reporting public cases, thereby undermining the independence of the Press in Nigeria.
I believe that being good is natural. It is said that the wild fire is never satisfied with burning down only one tree in the forest and this can be seen with the actions of the president in his first and second regimes as president of the country. It’s time to get the perpetrators of evil keelhauled for the atrocities they have committed with impunity. Evil to one is evil to all. On that all important note in life, l stand to crave the indulgence of the countries all over the word most especially, the government of Israel and that of the United States of America, to come and do justice as required. Henceforth, news from different Nigerian media outlets like; Vanguard, The Nation, The Sun, Dailypost, Punch, etc, should not be consumed without proper scrutiny and perusal. This is to save the broader world from consuming lies and deceit as news. Let us all stand on the side of truth for the reign of evil is as perennial as that of the grass.