The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has debunked the report by the press freedom organization, Committee To Protect Journalists (CPJ), that a certain Nigerian journalist has been in detention for the past two years.
The Minister, who issued the rebuttal at the Gala/Award Night of the International Press Institute (IPI) in Abuja on Friday, said the person the CPJ was referring to was never a journalist.
“Let me state here, without equivocating, that contrary to the report by the Committee To Protect Journalists (CPJ), no journalist is in detention in Nigeria. Clement Abiri, who is being referred to as a journalist, is not one. He does not belong to any chapel of the Nigerian Union of Journalists.
He was arrested for pipeline vandalism and crude theft, including militant activities in the Niger Delta,” he said. Alhaji Mohammed restated the commitment of the present administration to press freedom and gave the assurance that the media has nothing to fear under the present dispensation.
“In my opening comments at the 2016 IPI Congress in Doha, I said we as a government view the media as a partner. That remains true. I also said the media in Nigeria has nothing to fear from this Administration, and that – if anything – we as a government are the ones who have to fear the media. Also, that has not changed.
”We are proud that the Nigerian media is one of the most vibrant in the world. We are proud of the role that the Nigerian media has played in our long march to democratic governance. This administration will continue to provide the enabling environment for the journalist to function unmolested,” he said.