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Impunity: Violence Against Journalists Worries FG

There are indications that the Federal Government has vowed to end impunity for crimes against members of the public including journalists.

Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), disclosed this on Sunday, as he recognised the United Nation’s proclamation of November 2nd as the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists.

According to a statement signed by the Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, the Minister said it is gratifying to note that Nigeria is no longer among the countries with impunity for crimes against journalists.

“The 2020 global index for impunity for crimes against journalists by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), released on Wednesday 28th day of October 2020 indicated that Nigeria is the only country that came off the index from 2019,” Malami was quoted to have said.

He described the achievement as a result of deliberate and committed efforts of the President Muhammadu Buhari led Federal Government through the implementation of many reforms in the Nigerian justice sector to include increased access to justice, speedy justice dispensation, decongestion of Nigeria’s correctional centers and judicious implementation of the Criminal Justice Act and Justice Sector reforms.

The minister also said he was optimistic that with solid foundation of reformed justice sector to be bequeathed by Buhari Administration, never again will Nigeria feature among nations where journalists, citizens and inhabitants of the country will suffer from any form of impunity in the future.

Furthermore, he noted that the recent developments in Nigeria’s international arbitration against P&ID and some international oil companies are but indicators of resolute determination of the Federal Government to bring to an end the era of impunity and lack of adherence to due diligence and rule of law in governmental operations.

“It could be recalled that in the last decade, before the advent of the present administration, Nigeria ranked 13th across the globe and used to be among top three African countries with impunity for crimes against journalists only after Somalia and South Sudan,” the statement read in part.

While expressing commitment to maintain the tempo, Malami said there was no room for complacency in ensuring serene online and offline atmosphere of journalism practice in the country.

He said the government is working to ensure safety of journalists against rhetorical aggression, trolling, incursion of privacy, phishing and cyber-attacks, adding that with the implementation of the Cybercrime Act 2015 the incidences of cyber-related crimes would be minimized.

Malami, therefore, urged journalists to adhere strictly to the ethical provisions of their profession and refrain from misinformation and fake news.

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