The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has
described the recent attack on The Nation Newspaper and Television
Continental (TVC), during the EndSARS protest in Lagos, as an attack
on free speech and democracy.
The Minister made the assertion in Lagos on Saturday when he visited
the two media organizations in Lagos to commiserate with their
management and staff over the attack.
He said the action of the arsonists was a premeditated attempt to
silence the voice of reason and stifle press freedom.
“We believe that the attack on the Nation is not just an attack on the
Vintage Press, it’s an attack on the free press, it’s an attack on
democracy, because there can be no virile and robust democracy without
a free media.
“Therefore, an attack on the Nation or any media house is a direct
attack on freedom of speech and also democracy and, honestly, we
believe that there is no justification whatsoever for the attack,”
Alhaji Mohammed said.
He however expressed his delight that a few days after the attack, the
two media houses bounced back, a development which he described as a
sign of the commitment and sheer determination by the organization’s
management and staff to continue to promote democracy in the country.
“The fact that within a few days you were able to return to the stand
and on air, I think it’s a big blow to the attackers, who thought they
could shut out the light of press freedom,” the Minister said.
He strongly and unreservedly condemned the attack on the media houses,
saying the attempt by the arsonists to stifle press freedom has failed
Alhaji Mohammed, who expressed sadness at the extent of damage to the
corporate headquarter buildings and other properties of the two media
houses, said there was every reason to thank God that no life was lost
in the attack.
The Minister assured that the Federal Government will continue to
support responsible journalism and wished the two media organizations
a quick rebound in terms of properties, equipment and revenue losses.
The Chairman of The Nation Newspaper, Mr. Wale Edun, and the Managing
Director of TVC, Mr. Andrew Hanlon, conducted the Minister round the
premises of the two media organizations, respectively.
The Minister was accompanied on the visit by the Director General,
Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, Dr. Mansur Liman; Managing
Director, News Agency of Nigeria, Mr. Buki Ponle; Executive Secretary,
Nigerian Press Council, Mr. Francis Nwosu; Registrar/CEO of the
Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, Dr. Olalekan Fadolapo
and the Acting Director General of the National Broadcasting
Commission, Prof. Armstrong Idachaba.