The Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati has said that Nigerians have never been freer under any administration than the government of President Goodluck Jonathan. Abati who was a special guest on a UK based television, BEN TV said the freedom of speech in the country has created a very robust level for people to communicate, request and send information to Mr President without anyone being under any form of criticism from the presidency.
Abati speaking further said even open letters have recently become the norms, ‘In terms of general freedom, I think Nigerians have never been freer which is why it is strange that someone was saying recently that certain persons are on watch list. I mean the scope of freedom in Nigeria is quite notable, quite remarkable, and that is why you have this robustness within the space and this is why you have a season of letters where everybody is free to say what they like’. He said that it was ridiculous that anyone would accuse President Jonathan of placing any one under watch list.
The president’s SSA Media and Publicity while noting that President Jonathan administration has encouraged and promoted dialogue within the polity and the system as a whole said ‘the point of note of course is the fact that it was President Jonathan who signed the freedom of information bill into law and he has remained very faithful to that’.
Admitting the state of insecurity especially at the Northern part of the country when pressed further on the show which was via the Skype technology, Abati said that until the State of Emergency was declared in some North Eastern States, insurgency and terrorism were almost becoming a big threat to the country and no president of any nation would allow that ‘Now no President will sit idly by and watch terrorists and insurgents over run his country. President Jonathan acted decisively, he not only declared a state of emergency but he also moved troops to the place and today government has been able to succeed in containing the Boko Haram elements. Yes, occasionally you still find them doing one thing or the other but the security agencies have developed a very serious capacity to repel any kind of attack by the terrorists and the insurgents’.
Dr Abati castigated the opposition for using the media to misinform and mislead Nigerians. Abati who noted that the opposition in Nigeria has failed Nigerians in providing purposeful alternative solutions in crisis time said ‘If you listen to the opposition and their spokes persons you will get the impression that nothing is happening in Nigeria, that the government is just asleep. And that is why I tell people that look, I know that the media is very powerful and once these persons for their own political interest keep pushing lies to the public a number of persons over time will begin to believe them and that is why when we are confronted with such situations we immediately try to provide the counter punch in terms of the truth for the benefit of the Nigerian people’.
Packaged – by TA and Team