12th October, 2011
The Lagos State chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria has condemned the invasion of the offices of The Nation newspapers and the arrest of seven staff of the newspaper by men of the Nigerian police.
The party sees this as a mark of the gradual regression into tyranny and plain dictatorship by a regime that should safeguard democracy and the values that underpin it.
In a release in Lagos, signed by the Lagos State Publicity Secretary of the party, Joe Igbokwe, the party says the invasion and arrest follows a series of rising anti-democratic inclination of a regime that professes to be democratic.
The party, while insisting on the immediate and unconditional release of the arrested journalists, warns the President Jonathan regime that it risks mass resistance should it continue its rising inclination to turn into a full blown dictatorship, as its recent actions portend.
â€œWe are sad that a regime that should be upholding the tenets of democracy, which includes freedom of speech and information, is in a desperate bid to suppress such freedom. We are really sad that those that never believed in democracy and never fought for it are the ones employing it to visit tyranny and full blown dictatorship on people and institutions that should safeguard democracy. We see the invasion as well as the provocative arrest of journalists as a pointer that Nigeria is still ensconced in dictatorship.
â€œLagos ACN recalls that people and institutions have in recent times been clamped down on for expressing their views in what is passed as a democratic government. We have noted that there are deliberate assaults on institutions that promote and safeguard democracy such as the open and audacious effort to compromise the integrity of the judiciary by the Jonathan presidency and the siege on the press for doing its natural duties in a democracy. We want to say that these are pointers to governmental instability, which bodes ill for both the rulers and the ruled.
â€œWe are piqued that a government that has not made any known fair impression on the many problems that assail the country sources strength in intimidating and persecuting the press for doing its duties.”
The party said “when Nigerians are at their wits’ end, struggling to survive the clear ineptitude and cluelessness of the government, it is finding strength in hunting the press when there are established avenues for redress should one feel injured by the publication of any news medium. We are really amazed at how this PDP government that is best noted for its skewed understanding of the demands of governance, finds time to indulge in the type of reckless suppression of the Nigerian peopleâ€™s right to free expression. We warn that this government is riding the anger and discontent of Nigerians by its annoying penchant to employ anti-democratic means to suppress the freedom of the people to know how they are governed.
â€œWe are constrained to relate that as we were issuing this release, news came in that the police carried out a fresh raid of the Abuja office of The Nation just some minutes ago, in a desperate bid to shut down the paper. We see this as a degeneration of the state of siege being laid on the press by the government of President Jonathan. We are really worried at the clear state of anarchy a president, assailed by his inaction in the face of mounting woes in Nigeria, recently confessed that he is no pharaoh. That he is now using pharaohâ€™s tactics to prosecute his penchant to gag the free press should warn Nigerians that a state of full blown tyranny is nigh.
â€œLagos ACN demands the immediate and unconditional release of the detained journalists and the immediate cessation of this needless state of siege the Jonathan presidency employs to suppress the freedom of information. We warn the Federal Government against resorting to self help in a matter that could be resolved through legal means and we warn that this regression to tyranny and dictatorship must stop because Nigerians will resist it.â€