FG Restates Commitment To Protect Journalists

Yemisi Izuora

The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, has said that the Federal Government is working toward addressing impunity against members of the public including journalists.

Malami made this known in a statement issued by Dr Umar Gwandu, his Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations in Abuja on Sunday, November 1.

In a message to commemorate the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, the Minister said it was gratifying to note that Nigeria is no longer among the countries with impunity for crimes against journalists.

“The 2020 global index for impunity for crimes against journalists by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), released on Oct. 28 indicated that Nigeria is the only country that came off the index from 2019.”

He described the achievement as a result of deliberate and committed efforts of the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration; through the implementation of many reforms in the Nigerian justice sector.

These, he said, include increased access to justice; speedy justice dispensation; decongesting of Nigeria’s correctional centers; as well as judicious implementation of the Criminal Justice Act and Justice Sector reforms.

Malami expressed optimism that with the solid foundation of the reformed justice sector to be bequeathed by the Buhari Administration; never again will Nigeria feature among nations where journalists; as well as citizens; and also inhabitants of the country will suffer from any form of impunity in the future.

“The recent developments in Nigeria’s international arbitration against P&ID and some international oil companies are but indicators of the resolute determination of the federal government to bring to an end an era of impunity and lack of adherence to due diligence and rule of law in governmental operations’’.

He recalled that in the last decade, before the advent of the present administration, Nigeria was ranked 13th across the globe and used to be among the top three African countries with impunity for crimes against journalists only after Somalia as well as South Sudan.

While expressing commitment to maintaining the tempo, Malami added that there is no room for complacency in ensuring a serene online and offline atmosphere of journalism practice in the country.

He noted that with the development of information and communication technology and the internet forming veritable tools for mass communication; the government is working to ensure the safety of journalists against rhetorical aggression; trolling; an incursion of privacy; phishing; and cyber-attacks.

“With the implementation of the Cybercrime Act 2015, the incidences of cyber-related crimes would be minimised.”

He urged journalists to adhere strictly to the ethical provisions of their profession; and refrain from misinformation and fake news.

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