Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani-Bello has acknowledged that the growth and development of democracy in Nigeria is essentially dependent on the level of freedom of the Press.
The Governor, who stated this in Minna to commemorate the 2018 World Press Freedom Day, said freedom of speech and information are a fundamental rights of individuals and cannot be trampled upon.
In the statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary Malam Jibrin Baba Ndace, the Governor also affirmed that the freedom of the Press is not negotiable in any civilized society.
Governor Sani-Bello appreciated the effort and contributions of the Press to national development noting that the country’s struggles before and after independence as well as during the Military era wouldn’t have been successful without the patriotic support of the Press.
He, however cautioned that, as an undisputable Fourth Estate of the Realms, the Press must continue to exercise its duties with every sense of social responsibility and set agenda for the political and economic reconstruction of the country.
The Governor reiterated that his administration will continue to accept constructive criticism from members of the Press stressing that in criticizing government, the Press must also be fair, reasonable and unbiased.
“You can criticize my government, I have no issue with that, but in doing so such criticism must be constructive, fair and balanced in the overall interest of the people as well as progress and development of the state”
Governor Sani Bello assured of his administration’s readiness to improve on the welfare and provide enabling environment for journalists in the state to function effectively and efficiently.