The Federal Government is committed to ending all undemocratic and uncultured activities against journalists.
Attorney-General of the Federation Abubakar Malami, SAN, made this known in Abuja at the 2022 International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists with the theme: “Policy Dialogue on Media, Civil Society and Violence-free Election in Nigeria.
The two-day event is organised by the Ministry of Justice, Management Conflict in Nigeria (MCN) programme of the European Union supervised by the British Council and the Kano State Government.
He said that mainstream media, the Civil Society Organisations (CSO) have proved to be essential components of the advocates for the democratisation process in the country.
He, however, noted, with dismay, reports of some forms of attacks on journalists and voters by suspected hoodlums during elections in some parts of the country.
“The good news is that the federal and some State governments have taken precautionary and proactive steps in taming the tides.
“It is gratifying to note that supporting fair, credible and violence-free electoral process in the country is one of the cardinal themes of the ministry’s National Policy on Justice 2017.
“The policy expresses worries on and seeks to address the impunity for crimes regarding some election-related violence and malpractices especially the failure to hold perpetrators accountable”.
He noted that the policy documents as at 2017 took into consideration the prevalence of election related violence and other malpractices.
“These include physical attacks on INEC staff and facilities, attacks on security personnel on election duty, misuse of security operatives by politicians, and attacks on political opponents.
“This administration is working to bring an end to all these through the administration of legally justifiable approaches on the perpetrators in order to serve as deterrence to others.
He said that the Committee to Protect Journalists’ (CPJ) report said that Nigeria was the only country to get off the index of nations with impunity for crimes against journalists in 2020.
“This achievement is not unconnected with deliberate and committed efforts of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration through the implementation of many reforms in the Nigerian justice sector to include increased access to justice, speedy justice dispensation, decongestion of Nigeria’s correctional centres and judicious implementation of the Criminal Justice Act.
”It is imperative to renew our call on those involved in electioneering process to appreciate the fact that political activities are to be observed in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Law.
“Let us therefore, join hands in making sure that all campaign utterances are humane and in conformity with global best practices, thereby contributing to violence-free electoral process”.