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Presidency Reacts to Punch Editorial: Not a Big Deal; It’s Another Testimony To Press Freedom in Nigeria

The Presidency has reacted to the scathing editorial published, Wednesday, by the Punch newspaper, easily Nigeria’s largest-circulating newspaper, in which it announced its resolve to be addressing President Muhammadu Buhari by his military rank of Major General, and his administration as ‘regime’.

In a swift response, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said there was nothing untoward in the newspaper’s decision saying it was a rank the president richly earned through hard work and meritorious service to the nation as a military officer.

And “Rather than being pejorative, addressing President Buhari by his military rank is another testimony to free speech and freedom of the press, which this administration (or regime, if anyone prefers: it is a matter of semantics) has pledged to uphold and preserve,” Adesina said.

Below is the full text of the press release.

ANOTHER TESTIMONY TO PRESS FREEDOM IN NIGERIA, BY PRESIDENCY

A newspaper says it will henceforth address President Muhammadu Buhari by his military rank of Major General.

Nothing untoward in it. It is a rank the President attained by dint of hard work before he retired from the Nigerian Army. And today, constitutionally, he is also Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

All over the world, just as in our country, a large number of retired military officers are now democrats. It does not make those who did not pass through military service better than them.

Rather than being pejorative, addressing President Buhari by his military rank is another testimony to free speech and freedom of the press, which this administration (or regime, if anyone prefers: it is a matter of semantics) has pledged to uphold and preserve.

Femi Adesina

Special Adviser to the President

(Media and Publicity)

December 11, 2019

 

 

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