President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated the commitment of his administration to the protection of free speech in keeping with democratic tradition.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu who was reacting to the public hostility towards the social media bill now being debated by the Senate, said President Buhari has sworn to defend the constitution of Nigeria and would not lend his hand to anything that is inconsistent with the constitution. “But he is not averse to lawful regulation, so long as that is done within the ambit of the constitution which he swore to uphold.”
The President said free speech is central to democratic societies anywhere in the world. The President explained that without free speech, elected representatives won’t be able to gauge public feelings and moods about governance issues.
“As a key component of democratic principles,” the President acknowledged that people in democratic societies “are so emotionally attached to free speech that they would defend it with all their might.”
Malam Garba Shehu explained that President Buhari is fully aware of the public reservations about the proposed legislation but assured that there is no cause for alarm “because the Senate is a democratic senate. The President won’t assent to any legislation that may be inconsistent with the constitution of Nigeria.”