A former minister and a leader of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign, Oby Ezekwesili, has expressed dismay over a tweet by a presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, which suggested that some media houses acted against Nigeria’s interest in their reporting of the recent arrest of some judges by the State Security Services (SSS).
“To suggest that the government is acting outside the law in a dictatorial manner is to breach the interest of the state,” Mr. Shehu tweeted on Sunday.
The tweet was picked from the first press statement issued by the presidency after the country’s secret police raided the homes of some senior judges and arrested seven of them, including two Supreme Court judges. The judges were later released Monday evening.
The presidency, in the statement, had accused the media of portraying the incident as a confrontation between the executive and the judiciary.
Mrs. Ezekwesili quickly took on Mr. Shehu on the social media site.
“Delete your Press Release,” she wrote. “How dare you dictate what opinion citizens should express on any issue in a democracy?”
She said dissent voices and debates were the essentials of democracy, and that Mr. Shehu needed to take a class on “Democracy 101”.
“Globally, public backing is a sine qua non for all successful anti-corruption wars. Only governments that consistently acted lawfully earned it.”
She said she wasn’t against the prosecution of corrupt judges, but that she wanted the SSS to “step back” from their excesses.
“I’ve often said judiciary is (the) weakest link in anti-corruption effort. Empower @officialefcc for greater work. DSS keep within your mandate.
“Why has a strong anti-corruption government not worked hard with @NGRSenate to confirm Ibrahim Magu of @officialefcc to bolster their work? Why?” the former minister said, adding that countries like Hong Kong and Queensland Australia ended a tide of endemic corruption in the 70s through intelligent, rigorous, and due process-compliant prosecutions.