President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday condemned Wednesday’s terrorist attack on a French satirical news magazine, Charlie Hebdo, saying that it was a monstrous assault on the right to freedom of expression.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that 12 people died when masked gunmen stormed the magazine building in Paris and opened fire on the staff.
Among the dead were eight journalists, including the magazine’s editor, a police officer and three others.
Jonathan’s reaction is contained in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati.
The statement described the attack as heinous, senseless and totally unjustifiable.
It added that the incident was another reason for lovers of peace, progress and freedom across the globe to unite and “rout the agents of darkness and retrogression”.
The statement said: “Jonathan and Nigeria join the rest of the civilised world in condemning the heinous, senseless and totally unjustifiable killing of journalists and other persons during the attack on Charlie Hebdo.
“The president believes that the cowardly and ignoble attack by violent extremists is a monstrous assault on the right to freedom of expression.
“Jonathan also sees the attack as another manifestation of the depravity and brutality which the world has to contend with.”
Jonathan assured President Francois Hollande and the people of France of Nigeria’s full solidarity with them as they mourned the dead.
“France has been a strong ally and dependable partner in strengthening regional cooperation in the fight against terrorism in Nigeria, West Africa and Africa as a whole.
“Jonathan pledges that his administration will continue to work with the French government and other friendly governments in all continents to end the scourge of global terrorism.
“Jonathan urges media practitioners worldwide not to be discouraged or disheartened by the brutal murder of their colleagues in Paris.
“He enjoins them to remain strong and fearless in pursuit of truth and the defence of human rights and freedom of expression,” the statement read in part.
It extended the “heartfelt condolences” of the people and government of Nigeria to President Francois Hollande and the people of France.
It added that Jonathan prayed that God would comfort the bereaved families and grant speedy recovery to the injured in the attack.