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Lamido's Media Censorship And Ambush On Opposition In Jigawa by Barrister Musa Abdullahi Dutse


Lamido's media censorship and ambush on opposition in Jigawa

   FROM the early days of the Sule Lamido administration in May 2007, an average citizen of the state and most of those who had worked with or seeing him from a close distance, particularly civil servants, journalists and the royal fathers had prayed that all may not be well with during his tenure. This is not because Lamido was a disciple of the late Aminu Kano but largely because of his inherent vindictiveness, inferiority complex and his near illiteracy status. For our royal fathers, Lamido had over the years developed serious contempt against for no just reason other than that they worked closely with his predecessor.


For the members of the 4th estate of the realm, Lamido had long before now had the idea that as a leader one must go all out to muzzle them so that at the end of the day they can recognize his powers and give in to what he wants. Since May 29 last year, journalists in Jigawa state have never had it so good under the so called socialist but retrogressive regime of Lamido especially in their prime task of news gathering and dissemination.

   Barely two years into office, Lamido¢s full colours and his life long ambition to clip the wings of the press and at the same time shut-out the opposition parties who he feel will do all at their disposal to expose the mass rip-off of peoples funds by his administration now happening on several fronts and on several scales were exposed by the state chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ in Dutse recently. Handing down a warning on the state government over its recent ¡attempts to curtail the free flow of information or tampering with the ethics of journalism profession in the state¢, the State Secretary of NUJ, Lawan Yakubu Babura explained that the union will not fold its arms to see its members and the profession being harassed and intimidated by overzealous and greedy officials for their self-centred ends.

   According to the Secretary, some of these officials have gone round the state Radio station in the state capital and its mini FM stations in some local government areas of the state and directed that they must stop reporting any activity of the opposition parties in their domains. My view is that these officials were merely reading the riot act and the script of the Governor who has at every given opportunity tried to muzzle the press and the opposition so that he can have a field day of his devilish agenda.   This attempt to strangulate the freedom of the journalists in carrying out their job as unbiased, impartial and objective Nigerians of scouting and disseminating information in the society which will ultimately give media blackout to the opposition is not only undemocratic, illegal but also a complete negation of the provision of freedom of speech as enshrined in the country¢s 1999 constitution. Journalists have a responsibility to be as fair and objective as possible. Anything short of this will not be acceptable by the people. They are the watchdog and conscience of the people. They must not compromise this constitutional assignment.

   The constitution provides that every Nigerian is a stakeholder in the Nigerian project and therefore deserves the right to be heard. Members of the opposition in Jigawa state like their PDP counterparts are stakeholders in the affairs of the state and the country and so they must be allowed free and unhindered access to all the state media organizations.

   It is important that the Governor realizes the importance of the media and the constitutional responsibilities assigned to it as any attempt to stop journalists from exercising that right will amount to frustrating the opposition and therefore jeopardising Nigeria¢s fragile democracy. Lamido also needs to be reminded that Nigerians are wiser than they were, meaning that the era of civilian or military dictatorship is over where an elected god or a mad dog will determine what should be aired or said in the media.. We are now in a democracy, democracy of giving citizens to vote candidates of their choice and have uncensored accessed to the media to air their views on how they are governed. Those who know Lamido should be bold enough to tell him to learn to very civil.

Royal Chambers
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