Nigeria’s Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, Abubakar Malami has submitted that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is open to constructive criticism.
He argued that such criticism can provide solutions to national issues and help the government perform better as against direct attacks and falsehood that some people might want to peddle.
The Minister who spoke at the 2021 annual conference of the National Association of Judiciary Correspondents (NAJUC), Abuja chapter, where he was represented by his media aide, Dr. Umar Gwandu however warned that fake news and sensationalism doesn’t count as constructive criticism.
In fact, he noted that such acts can plunge the country into further problems and therefore warned media practitioners to avoid such practice when reporting issues and events in Nigeria.
He said: “I must say clearly that this government is not against criticism from the citizenry and stakeholders.
“The government is indeed open to constructive and objective criticisms where appropriate solutions are proffered. This, we consider as an integral part of good governance.”
The Minister added that the judiciary is an important arm of government and all arms of government must work together to achieve national developmental goals.
He urged reporters to avoid fake news or deliberate twisting of facts which he said is capable of causing problems and unnecessary tension in the country.
“I, therefore, wish to urge the media practitioners to refrain from fake news, axe-grinding, and sensationalism as your invaluable contribution to the rule of law and democratic governance for the betterment of the Nigerian public”, he said, adding that “cases of deliberate misrepresentation of information, distortion of facts, outright falsehood and undue sensationalism have been reduced to the lowest minimum.
Malami added further that the Buhari administration is open to constructive criticisms and protects freedom of speech as it sees such action as an integral part of democracy.
The government is “open to constructive and objective criticisms where appropriate solutions are proffered”, adding that “the government considers such as an integral part of good governance.”
“The government of President Muhammadu Buhari has done everything within the Constitutional provisions to ensure the right to access to information, freedom of expression, and especially freedom of press.
“This can be seen from the disappearance of the incessant harassment, intimidation, molestation, arrests, and prosecution of media practitioners as used to be the practice in the past regime. This fact is attested to by the 2020 report of the Committee to Protect Journalists that Nigeria is no longer on the list of countries with impunity for crimes against journalists. The report maintained that Nigeria is the only country in the globe that get off the index from 2019”, he said.
Meanwhile, a representative of the Northern Central People’s Forum, Mr. Gabriel Yakowa, has said that 85% of Nigerians want the country to remain as one indivisible entity.
He however added that for this to happen, there must be sincerity and discipline in how Nigerians behave and respond to national issues.
Yakowa spoke on Thursday at the 18th Daily Trust Dialogue with the theme, ‘Restructuring, why? How?’ which held in Abuja.