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FLASHBACK: When Tinubu Promised His Gov’t Would Uphold Media Freedom

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FLASHBACK: When Tinubu Promised His Gov’t Would Uphold Media Freedom

On December 18, 2023, President Bola Tinubu, in a press statement, promised his administration would always uphold media freedom and respect opinions, whether they were adversarial or complimentary to his government.

He made the pledge during a meeting he had with members of the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (NPAN).

“I care about what is going on in the country. I thank you for your support and opinions, even the criticism of our government. Without the support of some of you, I will not be standing here as president,” the statement read.

“You have held our feet to the fire, and we will continue to respect your opinions, whether we agree or not. One thing I must say is that I read every paper, various opinions, and columnists.”

Interestingly, this has not been the case. In less than one year, Tinubu’s government, through its security agencies, has arrested, abducted, detained and/or persecuted at least 11 journalists for revealing the truth through stories published by them.

The affected journalists include Segun Olatunji, the former editor of FirstNews; Kasarahchi Aniagolu, a journalist with The Whistler Newspaper; Achadu Gabriel, a reporter with Daybreak newspaper; Godwin Tsa, a journalist with the Sun Newspaper; and Precious Eze, an online publisher and journalist.

Other journalists in this category are Salihu Ayatullahi, Editor-in-Chief, Informant247; Adisa-Jaji Azeez, Managing Editor, Informant247; Saint Mienpamo, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of NAIJA Live TV; Abdulrazaq Babatunde, the publisher of Just Events Online; and Lukman Bolakale, owner of Satcom Media.

The latest is the May 1 abduction of Daniel Ojukwu, an FIJ reporter, by the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) of the Inspector General of Police for violating the 2015 Cybercrime Act.

The police only revealed Ojukwu was being held at the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Panti, Lagos, three days after the organisation had reported him as a missing person.

He was later transferred to Abuja alongside others who were also on the IG Monitoring Team’s watchlist.

All Facts Newspaper would gather that Ojukwu is being detained for a purported violation of the 2015 Cybercrime Act in his investigative report on how Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Senior Special Assistant on Sustainable Development Goals (SSAP-SDGs) to former President Muhammadu Buhari, allocated N147.1 million to an account linked to Enseno Global Ventures (Enseno GV), an Abuja-based restaurant, supposedly for the construction of a classroom.

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