The Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has condemned the expulsion of The Punch State House Correspondent, Olalekan Adetayo, from the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Fayose described the expulsion as “sign of what is to come from a dictatorial government that desires that the media must only tell Nigerians what it wants them to hear and nothing more”.
The governor, who noted that he warned Nigerians of the emerging dictatorship of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress government, said: “Even though the Punch Correspondent was recalled yesterday, owing to public outcry, the dangerous message of intolerance to freedom of expression and of the press was passed loud and clear.”
In a statement issued on Tuesday by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, Governor Fayose said it should worry all lovers of democracy and free press that a journalist, who was only doing his job, was subjected to humiliating treatment of writing statement by the Chief Security Officer to the President, Bashir Abubakar, before he was escorted out of the Presidential Villa like a common criminal.
He said: “When they invaded the Akwa Ibom State Government House with armed men of the Department of State Services, I raised alarm then and I did warn that Nigeria was being returned to 1984 when President Buhari ruled the country like a maximum ruler.
“When I said Nigerians irrespective of their political parties should rise in condemnation of the President Buhari’s government emerging dictatorship, many of our friends in the media opted to keep silent. Some even hailed the DSS when the service invaded the Ekiti State House of Assembly and abducted a member of the House.
“I warned then that no one will be spared by the time this Buhari’s emerging dictatorship reached its peak. I did say then that by the time they are through with politicians, they will move to the judiciary and then to the media.
“Now the tyranny has gotten to the media and it will only take fervent prayers from men of the media profession for the country not to descend to that era of closure of media houses, arrest and indefinite detention of journalists.”
The governor, who urged journalists in the country to rise in one voice and protect the democratic rights of freedom of expression, said: “As at today, no one knows how many Nigerians are languishing in detention in APC controlled states for freely expressing their opinions and the media must not close its eyes to this infringement on the rights of Nigerians to freedom of information.”