The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s led administration was committed to the freedom of the press and as such would not muzzle it.
Mustapha said this at an “Appreciation Dinner” with media partners organised by Presidential Communication Team on Thursday in Abuja.
He said that the government would continue to support an independent media that gives the public credible news and promote the course of democracy.
“The Buhari Administration will not muzzle the Press as you perform the important work of providing the public with reliable and quality information. We acknowledge that no real democracy can exist anywhere in the world without freedom of the press.
“We will continue to support an independent media that gives the public credible news, enlighten us to think more critically and act more honourable to address pressing national challenges.
“We will equally support efforts from media organisations to combat disinformation in all forms, especially, fake news which are detrimental to the peace, security and unity of the nation,” he said.
He said that the appreciation dinner with media partners brought together leadership of the National Assembly, governors, ministers, Heads of Government agencies and senior presidential aides.
Mustapha said that the aim was a manifestation of the fact that the present administration valued the contributions of the media in nation building.
“That is why in the past four years, the Presidential Communication Team has provided a platform for key government officials to regularly engage editors and media managers in-camera briefing sessions to exchange views on some pressing challenges facing our dear country.
“The quarterly briefing sessions have provided an opportunity for us to showcase our agenda to the Nigerian people and forge stronger partnerships and synergy for the benefit of our people.
“I make bold to say that since I assumed SFG we have run a government that is accountable to the public by all standards,” he said
According to him, the Buhari administration has laid a solid foundation for Nigeria’s economic development through massive investments in agriculture, power, transportation infrastructure and manufacturing,
“We believe that tangible investments in these priority areas will drive the nation’s economic diversification programmes, curb inflation and shore up foreign reserves.
“Boko Haram terrorists have been substantially degraded. The commitment of the Buhari administration to the fight against terrorism is not in doubt, and we are actively addressing other challenges such as kidnappings, communal conflicts and farmers/herders clashes.
“The Anti-Corruption fight is upbeat. The control measures to tackle leakage in public resources have saved us billions of naira.
According to him, those who stole our common patrimony are being made to return what they illegally acquired for themselves and their cronies through the legal process.
“To our media partners, I want to stress that in the determination of this administration to place Nigeria on the path of rapid growth and sustainable development, we will always count on your role as the watchdog of the society, partners in progress, and the conscience of the nation.
“The Buhari Administration will not gag the Press as you perform the important work of providing the public with reliable and quality information,” he said.
The Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, represented by the Majority Leader of the Senate, Abdullahi Yahaya, expressed appreciation to the media for the support enjoyed so far.
He pledged the support of the National Assembly to the media and to the success of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s led administration.
The Director General of Voice of Nigeria, Osita Okechukwu, urged the media to continue to be partner in progress with the administration.
Okechukwu who underscored the role of the media in a democratic society urged media practitioners to utilise the freedom of the press in the country to advance course of democracy.