Citing the commitment of his administration to protect free speech in keeping with democratic tradition, President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged not to assent any legislation that might be inconsistent with the constitution.
Reacting to the public outcry against the bill, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, said Buhari has sworn to defend the constitution and would not lend his hand to anything that was inconsistent with the document.
“But he is not averse to lawful regulation, so long as that is done within the ambit of the constitution, which he swore to uphold,” he said.
Shehu added that the President said free speech was central to democratic societies anywhere in the world.
Without free speech, the president explained that elected representatives won’t be able to gauge public feelings and moods about governance issues.
“As a key component of democratic principles,” the president acknowledged that people in democratic societies “are so emotionally attached to free speech that they would defend it with all their might”.
Noting that Buhari was aware of the public reservations about the proposed legislation, he said the President has assured that there was no cause for alarm.
“Because the Senate is a democratic Senate, the President won’t assent to any legislation that may be inconsistent with the constitution of Nigeria,” he stated.