President Muhammadu Buhari, whose government has been accused of clamping down on free speech, has accused the Nigerian media of “just reporting irresponsible remarks.”
The Nigerian leader said this during his televised broadcast to mark Nigeria’s 61st independence anniversary.
“Our media houses and commentators must move away from just reporting irresponsible remarks to investigating the truth behind all statements and presenting the facts to readers,” Mr Buhari said.
Mr Buhari’s attack on the media as a collective was part of his comment on how some of the violence being perpetrated across Nigeria are caused by remarks people make.
“I will therefore take this opportunity, on this special day that symbolises the unity and oneness of our great nation, to ask all Nigerians to embrace peace and dialogue, whatever your grievances,” the Nigerian leader said.
“The seeds of violence are planted in people’s heads through words. Reckless utterances of a few have led to losses of many innocent lives and destruction of properties,” he said.
“We must all come out and speak against the lies being peddled.”
While Mr Buhari reserved his attack for the media, he appreciated “the large number of our Traditional, Religious and Community leaders as well as other well-meaning Nigerians who, in their various fora are openly spreading the message of peaceful co-existence and conflict settlement through dialogue in their respective communities.”
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