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Published On: Wed, Dec 25th, 2019

Bishop Kukah calls for press freedom in Nigeria

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From Raji Bello, Sokoto

The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Revered Mathew Hassan Kukah, has advised the Federal Government to respect the freedom of the press as enshrined in the country’s constitution.
He described the media as an agent needed to propel and sustaining peace and national development of any nation, adding that the media is not the enemy of government.
Kukah stated this in Sokoto while speaking with journalists during an interactive session to mark this year’s Christmas celebrations.
The Bishop acknowledged the Nigerian media is currently facing serious challenges, but urged not to be deterred from performing its statutory duties.
“You know some journalists have been incarcerated. This is a difficult time for our country,” he said.
He also underscored the role of media in building national cohesion and good governance and called on Federal Government to always respect media freedom.
The Catholic Bishop reminded government of the day the critical roles media has played in the past in sustaining the country’s national cohesion and ensure good governance.
“The freedom of media must be accorded because of their critical role played in enthroning good governance. I believe the government of the day and its successors have tremendously benefited from this role. Let Government stop the idea of controlling the media, not even the government owned media.”
He commended media practitioners on their public awareness efforts noting that despite challenges more have been achieved in strengthening the face to face interaction.
He urged media practitioners to dwell more on issues bordering nation building and citizenship awareness.
The Bishop appealed to government strive more on areas merging the differences among ethnic and religious groups in the country.
Kukah commended the border closure initiatives by the Federal Government which according to him, “as impacted positively in the area of security.” But advised the government to always engage citizens and other stakeholders’ views when coming up with such policy.
Commenting on the recent religion watch list placed on Nigeria by the United States, the Catholic Bishop reasoned that such move was not unconnected with decisions taken by the Federal Government on religious activities in the country.
He however, called on religious leaders to conduct themselves the manners that could ensure peace and stability so that their adherents could emulate.

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