Jonathan may target media with Boko Haram proscription order– ACN

President Goodluck Jonathan signing a deal

The opposition party said President Jonathan may go after dissents from reporting the group.

The Action Congress of Nigeria has warned that the recent proscription of Boko Haram and other extremist groups by the federal government may be abused by the “increasingly intolerant” administration to haunt the media and critics.

The party said in a statement Sunday it was concerned about some vague provisions of the proscription order being misinterpreted by the government to clampdown on the media and the opposition parties.

The contentious section of the Order is Section 5 (1), which prescribes a term of imprisonment of not less than 20 years ”for any person who knowingly, in any manner, directly or indirectly, solicits or renders support for the commission of an act of terrorism or to a terrorist group”.

ACN said “support”, as defined by the Order, includes “incitement to commit a terrorist act through the Internet, or any electronic means or through the use of printed materials or through the dissemination of terrorist information.

“Is this subsection not in conflict with Chapter II Section 22 of the Nigeria constitution which says ‘The press, radio, television and other agencies of the mass media, shall at all times be free to uphold the fundamental objectives contained in this chapter and uphold the responsibility and accountability of the government to the people?’

“Can journalists escape being sentenced to 20-year jail terms for publishing statements issued by the sects? Can they freely report on videos periodically posted on YouTube by Boko Haram leader Shekau? Can the media freely report the kind of massacre that took place in Baga in April without being held liable for ‘supporting’ terrorism? Can radio and television stations organize talk shows on terrorism without the discussants being held liable for ‘supporting’ terrorism?” the party asked.

“Can the opposition criticize the government’s strategies against the terrorist sects, through its regular intervention, without being perceived as offering support to the sects? Does this Order cover the satellite broadcast channels that can be accessed in many homes across the country? Who determines when this Order has been breached? These are some of the questions that arise under the proscription Order.”

The party said, while it was in support of measures to tackle extremism and terrorism, authorities must ensure such efforts are constitutional and well applied.

It said the Nigerian government should take a cue from what obtains in the United States and other countries where the media continue to report freely on the activities of the global terrorist organization Al-Qaeda, despite the horrendous attacks it has carried out in the US and Europe, among others.

ACN recalled its earlier statement warning of the Jonathan administrations increasing authoritarian leaning as shown in “brazen assault on the freedom of expression and the press, the use of national institutions against perceived enemies and a growing inclination to denigrate opposition leaders.”

”We hate to say this has turned out to be prescient, in view of the dangerous provisions of the Boko Haram and Ansaru’s proscription Order. The Order’s assault on the press freedom and the Constitutionally-guaranteed rights of ordinary Nigerians is unprecedented in the country’s history,” the party said.

It called on media bodies to challenge the Order in court to save journalists from long jail terms simply for carrying out their constitutional duties.

In the alternative, the ACN called on the federal government to clarify the vague areas of the Order, that may end up punishing journalists and infringing on the civil liberties of the citizens more than it will curtail the activities of the sects.


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  • Why should ACN/APC raise false alarm. IF you are not sponsoring Boko Boyz and have no link with them directly or indirectly why bother? I think the media should actually help by giving boko haram less courage as part of a psychological war to down play the organisation.

    • Sadiq Garba

      By down playing the organisation, I hope you don’t mean that media should not report extra judicial activies of the FG/JTF.

      • ClassLLess

        did you ever voice up [ this aggressively ] when obviously innocent targets were being butchered by the boko terrorists? especially other citizens from the south of us [socalled north] who ought to have been [ vehemently protected by the northern ruling class as a proof of shared nationhood. why should I trust that your current agenda is not as deeply dubious as that of the man who asked the president to embrace islam or resign? by the way, what challenge did you throw that offensive challenger of democracy? if you are indeed claim to be speaking in good faith now, when have you ever called for the compensation of the butchered victims of terror, as a balance for “soft-landing” potential terrorism in act and in pre-meditation? or do you think non-muslim nigerians are too gullible not to strongly quantify a clear partisanship for the terrorists who are always muslims? who else run ACN/APC but muslims? and in what ways are you and this sleezy group deconstructing the ever-implicit spectre of sharia. or do you fantasize that such spectre of feudal domination can perpetually escape widespread notice in all these the expressions of muslim reactionism in nigeria? all just because a non-muslim happens to be at the helm?

        • Sadiq Garba

          Nobody has ever asked your brother (Jona) to accept Islam or resign. That is only some figments of your imagination, Besides religious belief is not forced on person. The relationship is between that person and God.
          That arguement is only one of the many irresponsible ways of his handlers to make things look religious not minding the real issues.
          As for SHARIA, it is the pride for all muslims. I wonder why you are having unnecessary fears about sharia. It is not for you and you need not to fear.
          Sharia is our way of life and no amount of so called civilisation can change that.
          For those who believe, it is the best way of life, so you don’t have to fear

          • ClassLLess

            so far, how many hands and feets of very high level corrupt muslims, siphoning billions of naira out of nigeria have you cut off, per the “excellency” of sharia?

          • Sadiq Garba

            Heroes of Islam are not such people like the one you’re talking about.
            Heroes in Islam do not hide for fear of being killed or whatever. They have the belief that life and death are in the hands of God. The truth is the gospel used in preaching.

            As for cutting of hands, Sharia does not start or stop at cutting of hands. Not at any form of punishment. It is a complete way of life that guide every aspect human existance. And as I said earlier, you do not have to worry yourself with fears of sharia. It is not meant for you or any other person. It is the pride of Muslims which you are not. We are happy being guided by sharia, the spreme laws of mankind.

            You don’t have to fear, as your fears for sharia is unnecessary.

    • Sadiq Garba

      Reporting the extra judicial activities of the FG/JTF does not amount to encouraging terrorism.

      • The Boko Haram thresholds was declared a state of emergency and the military were contracted to carry out the sanctification that is needed, as a civilian i still know for a fact that military man can never kill an innocent person except the individual is caught in the line of fire.

        Many times the media do not have the right information or an evidence to substantiate their report, some flimsy things have been perpetrated via the aid of the media and most of them are unpardonable.

        The media that ought to be objective and apolitical is being bias and that can never be condoned, there is no point that ACN or APC is proving here, there are just scampering to safety and the reasons will soon be revealed i pray.

        • Sadiq Garba

          You mean the people complaining in Plateau, Borno and Yobe are all lying against the military?
          What of the Odi/Zaki Biam massacre?
          What of the reports that some of them were facing charges for extra Judicial killings. Are they all lies?
          Military operations always come with casualities especially where one of them is touched the opponents.
          Haven’t you ever witness physical assaults between police and military in our streets?
          You seem to be so much comfortable with military operations, may be when it’s not in your neigbourhood.

          • ClassLLess

          • ClassLLess

            did you voice up [ this aggressively ] when obviously innocent targets were being butchered by the boko terrorists? especially other citizens from the south of us [socalled north] who ought to have been [ vehemently protected by the northern ruling class as a proof of shared nationhood. why should I trust that your current agenda is not as deeply dubious as that of the man who asked the president to embrace islam or resign? by the way, what challenge did you throw that offensive challenger of democracy? if you are indeed claim to be speaking in good faith now, when have you ever called for the compensation of the butchered victims of terror, as a balance for “soft-landing” potential terrorism in act and in pre-meditation? or do you think non-muslim nigerians are too gullible not to strongly quantify a clear partisanship for the terrorists who are always muslims? who else run ACN/APC but muslims? and in what ways are you and this sleezy group deconstructing the ever-implicit spectre of sharia. or do you fantasize that such spectre of feudal domination can perpetually escape widespread notice in all these the expressions of muslim reactionism in nigeria? all just because a non-muslim happens to be at the helm?

          • Sadiq Garba

            Nobody has ever asked your brother (Jona) to accept Islam or resign. That is only some figments of your imagination, Besides religious belief is not forced on person. The relationship is between that person and God.
            That arguement is only one of the many irresponsible ways of his handlers to make things look religious not minding the real issues.
            As for SHARIA, it is the pride for all muslims. I wonder why you are having unnecessary fears about sharia. It is not for you and you need not to fear.
            Sharia is our way of life and no amount of so called civilisation can change that.
            For those who believe, it is the best way of life, so you don’t have to fear.

  • ACN/APC you people are giving Nigerians clear indications that you know or actually have a stake in Boko Haram sect because there is no rationale behind all you guys are fighting for.

    Nigerians have suffered greatly in the hands of this dreaded sect and you guys capitalized on that and criticized the government of the day and now the GEJ-led government is doing everything within it’s power to subdue and annihilate the sect.

    I have found out overt time that people that cries foul when decisions are made are exactly the people that has a stake in the problem or they don’t want the problem to go because they are benefiting from it, Nigerians are wiser than you bunch of unpatriotic, selfish and unscrupulous elements.

  • Rational

    It takes deceit to identify deceit.