The Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, Femi Adesina, has responded to a scathing editorial from Punch newspaper which referred to the president as a draconian leader and dictator for this year a host of perceived human rights violations, over-zealousness and high handedness of security operatives and detention of journalists.
“Buhari can still redeem himself and his out-of-control security agents and reclaim his past facade of tolerance,” the newspaper wrote in an editorial that has since gone viral. “The regime’s repression cannot succeed but will further polarise the society and weaken national cohesion.
The Nigerian Bar Association has vowed to defend the sanctity of judicial authority, while Soyinka has warned that disregard for court orders could beget desperation and civil disobedience. Nigerians need to stop their supine acquiescence to oppression and learn to stand up for their rights as many are doing around the world, using all peaceful and legal means, including the right to protest and of peaceful assembly. It is Dasuki, el-Zakzakky, Sowore and others today, who knows who is next if repression is not resisted?”
The Punch concluded its editorial by stating that it will henceforth prefix Buhari’s name with his former military title; with which he ruled the country in a ham-fisted, brutal fashion in the ‘80s.
As a symbolic demonstration of our protest against autocracy and military-style repression, PUNCH (all our print newspapers, The PUNCH, Saturday PUNCH, Sunday PUNCH, PUNCH Sports Extra, and digital platforms, most especially Punchng.com) will henceforth prefix Buhari’s name with his rank as a military dictator in the 80s, Major General, and refer to his administration as a regime, until they purge themselves of their insufferable contempt for the rule of law.”
Spokesperson Adesina has however laughed off the newspaper’s editorial and stance in a tweet.
“If you decide to call him Major General, he wasn’t dashed the rank, he earned it. So, you are not completely out of order. The fact that you can do so is even another testimony to press freedom in Nigeria,” Adesina shared.
The Buhari administration has received plenty of flak in recent times for the continued detention of activist, journalist and presidential candidate in the last elections, Omoyele Sowore, in spite of a court order granting him bail.
Operatives of the state run Department of State Security (DSS) stormed a courtroom in the federal capital city of Abuja to re-arrest Sowore on yet to be disclosed charges, barely hours after the court granted him temporary freedom.
Sowore is accused of treason,attempting to overthrow the Buhari administration, destabilizing the country and money laundering. He’s been in government custody since August.
A former army general who ruled Nigeria from 1983 to 1985, Buhari contested the 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015 presidential elections as a “reformed democrat.”
He would succeed in his fourth attempt, defeating then incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan.
Buhari won a second term in office in 2019.