A former minister of education, Oby Ezekwesili has hailed PUNCH Newspapers for standing up against President Muhammadu Buhari’s alleged dictatorial regime.
In a notice titled “Buhari’s lawlessness: Our Stand”, Punch stated that it will “henceforth prefix Buhari’s name with his rank as a military dictator in the 80s ‘Major General’ and refer to his administration as a regime until they purge themselves of their insufferable contempt for the rule of law.
The newspaper made the decision while making reference to DSS non-compliance to court orders on trial of Omoyele Sowore, publisher of SaharaReporters; invasion of courtroom and trial of Shiites’ leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky amongst others.
Punch said its decision shows its protest against autocracy and military-style repression under Buhari’s administration. In reaction, Ezekwesili called on President Muhammadu Buhari to read and reflect on issues highlighted by Punch.
On her Twitter page, She wrote: “No one needs to tell me about the importance of the free press in a democratic society or about the essential role a newspaper can play in its community-Robert Kennedy
“Glad you rose to this ideal Punch. I advise Buhari to read and reflect deeply on all you wrote.”
Meanwhile, in reaction to Punch’s decision, Femi Adesina, a Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, said the newspaper’s decision to call Buhari ‘Major General’ is not out of order.
Adesina on his Twitter page @FemiAdesina added that Buhari has earned the rank ‘Major General’. According to him, Punch’s publication is proof of press freedom under Buhari’s administration.