The Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Jonathan, Reuben Abati, has denied any involvement of the Presidency in the recent ordeal faced by three staff members of Leadership Newspapers over a story that allegedly exposed a secret memo from the President’s desk.
In a statement entitled, Leadership Newspaper, Media Responsibility and the Police, issued by the Presidential spokesman, the Presidency categorically denied any involvement in the actions of the Nigerian Police.
Abati said, “President Jonathan did not have to issue any orders before those who have as much constitutional responsibility as the media; that is, the police, see the need to act in the public interest.
“Without holding brief for the law enforcement and security agencies, such a publication, like all others that threaten our democracy and undermine law and order, become the duty of the Police as an institution to investigate. The Leadership newspaper should see this as an opportunity to co-operate with the police as required by the laws of the land. The Police have not done anything outside the law. The trite rule is that nobody is above the laws of the land. It is also within the powers of the Police to invite persons for questioning and to conduct investigations, which is what they have done so far in “The Leadership case”. Or are the editors of the Leadership newspaper insisting that they are above the laws of the land? “
Social analysts are of the opinion that the President is seeking new ways to clamp down on the media ahead of the 2015 elections in order to control public opinion and discourse.