Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
The presidency on Tuesday dismissed the attribution of the expulsion of The Punch reporter, Lekan Adetayo, from the Villa on Monday, by The Guardian to the personality of President Muhammadu Buhari, saying the president would never approve the oppression of any journalist.
Reacting to The Guardian Newspaper’s report entitled: “Memories of Decree 4,” Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, described as wrong and improper the use of an isolated incident to judge the character of the president.
He insisted that the president would never approve the oppression and humiliation of any journalists in the course of carrying out their legitimate duties. He also alleged that The Guardian’s action created the impression that the newspaper had been waiting eagerly to attack the president in its bid to portray the incident as a show of his dislike towards the media.
He argued that despite dissociating himself from the unfortunate incident and the eventual recall of the affected journalist, “The Guardian still chose to go for the President’s jugular, holding him personally responsible for an action he knew nothing about.”
According to Shehu, since he was sworn in in 2015, Buhari has not oppressed any media house or journalist on account of unfavourable reports about him or his government as he reiterated the president’s respect for freedom of the press and his commitment to protect their liberties at all times.