The Civil Society Consortium on Civic Space (CSOs) has criticised President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration’s decision to ban the media by issuing a directive to media outlets through the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
Mbasekei Martin Obono, the chairperson of a consortium of 40 civil society organizations, claimed that the NBC’s directions are yet another attempt by the government to reduce civic space and endanger the lives of citizens even further.
According to him, the directive which has its legal base from section 5 of the NBC Code is inconsistent with Section 22 1999 Constitution (role media organizations), Section 39 1999 constitution (freedom of expression and opinion) and Article 9 African Charter on Human and Peoples Right (Right to receive information and free expression without interference).
“We are in an era where people living in Nigeria need access to security information more than ever before to make an informed decision on how to move around or navigate dangerous terrains the country.
“The order can cause more deaths and destruction of properties if citizens cannot access information about dangers ahead of time. Preventing media organizations from reporting insecurity is not only a breach of the constitutional rights of the media, it will portend unjust and avoidable casualty in the country,” Obono said.
He added that the order is a breach of right for citizens to access and digest information to the point of forming an opinion that may affect the outcome of the 2023 elections.
He said, “Citizens need to have access to media reports and information that will help them determine whether or not the ruling party at the centre has performed creditably in the area of security to deserve another electoral opportunity in 2023.”