Former Military President General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, has described as silly, the move by Buhari’s administration to punish Nigerians for freely expressing their displeasures over leadership failures in the country.
Babangida who spoke in his Minna Uphill residence when he received visiting National President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Chief Christopher Isiguzo, said free speech is the fundamental rights of all Nigerians, and that nobody can muzzle them into relinquishing it.
He said, ‘Unless people are able to express themselves, those in government or in authority will not know what is happening in the country.’
“I am surprised that this bill has resurfaced. There is no basis for this now. We are developing; we should be allowed to develop. If we make mistakes, people can be cautioned. If somebody goes off you have the right to call him to say, ‘no, we don’t want this,'” the former President said.
Unless people are able to express themselves, those in government or in authority will not know what is happening in the country.
“If somebody makes hate speech, put him in the gallows and not shoot him. It is crude and out of tune with the 21st century reality. It could have happened, may be some 300 years ago, but not now,” Babangida added.
He also promised to alongside others, look into ways to help address the issues. He said, “I am with you on this. I will also talk to those of us who could be in position to bring sanity to bare on some of these things.”
Speaking further, Babangida drew contrast between what’s happening in the country, to the situation currently facing President Trump of the United States. He said he has been following developments in the US as the country’s elections draw nigh
He said, “if we had their type of media, I think they should be jailing you all by now.”
He challenged the media to remain strong and focussed on what Nigerians wants, maintaining that the nation can only succeed if we allow unfettered freedom without death threat or N10 million fine, which he said sounded silly.