The Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (HAGF), Abubakar Malami SAN, has urged the Media Practitioners to be above board by avoiding Partisan Politics in their reportage.
He said this at the occasion of Annual Conference of the National Association of Judiciary Correspondents, theme: “The Role of the Judiciary in achieving good Democratic Governance in Nigeria” on Thursday, January 21, 2021 at Olusegun Obasanjo Auditorium, Abuja.
In his Keynote address, read by His representative, Dr Umar Gwandu, Special Adviser on Media and Public Relations, Malami said, issues must be well-analyzed and patriotic solutions proffered while deliberate falsehood, blackmail, name calling against government, its officers and its institutions should be clearly avoided.
According to him, 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 contrary to the incessant harassment, intimidation, molestation, arrest 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 in the list of Countries with impunity for crimes against Journalist .The report maintained that Nigeria is the only Country in the globe that get off the index from 2019. He maintained.
HAGF in his affirmation that the present administration is a listening government recalled the recent EndSARS protest by some youths, he said, all issues thrown up in the protest were gradually addressed. He explained that, a good example is the 774,000 jobs being implemented for youths in all the 774 Local Government areas of the Country to address the issue of unemployment and youth restiveness.
Malami therefore appealed to the Media and the entire nation to put in their best to continue to give maximum support and understanding to the government in the quest to make life more meaningful to Nigerians.
HAGF while praising NAJUC for their accurate reportage, comment on responsibilities of the Media to the government and the citizens. According to him, Achieving good democratic is not the sole responsibilities of the Judiciary alone but that of the entire critical Stakeholders including the Media as a watchdog of the Nigerians and the Government.
He explained that, while the Judiciary is expected to look into all issues that may be brought before it for proper adjudication by the aggrieved litigants, the Press on the other hand is expected to give balanced, unbiased and untainted reports of the activities unfolding in the society.
“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 betterment of the Nigeria public” Malami stated.
Speaking on the sub-theme for the Conference “Independence of the Judiciary and challenges of financial autonomy in the way forward “The HAGF said, the Federal Government has taken and maintained the lead in ensuring total autonomy for Judiciary at the National Level.
He explained further that, the Federal Government has signed into law Executive Order 10 on Autonomy and independence of State Legislature and Judiciary. Also on the issue of Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), that, the Government has greatly used the new law to fight Economy and Financial Crimes in the Country.
He therefore implored the Participants to take full advantage of the conference to build up on their skills and broaden their knowledge. While also assured them that suggestions or recommendations would be promptly addressed when put at the Ministry’s disposal.
In his welcome address, the Chairman, National Association of Judiciary Correspondents Mr Kayode Lawal expressed his concern on the continual reduction in the budgetary allocation to Judiciary Sector “More than any other arm of government, Judiciary is burdened, the workload is much that there Lordships now have to work both day and night in order to cope with the challenges of adjudicating on political issues especially, time bound political cases “He explained.
Furthermore, Mr Kayode called for the Judiciary to be well equipped and well founded to be able to cope with the enormous challenges facing the sector.
Present at the occasion are; Femi Okeowo, NTA Presenter, Ikechukwu Micheal Nduchebe, esq, Senior Studies Fellow, National Judiciary Institute and Barr. Ajibolu Afolabi NJI.
For: DD (Press & Public Relations)