The Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Revered Mathew Hassan Kukah, has called on Federal Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari to respect media freedom.
The bishop who spoke during his annual interactive session with journalists in Sokoto to mark this year’s Christmas celebrations underscored the role of the media in building national cohesion and good governance.
He also described the media as an agent needed to propel and sustain peace and national development of any nation, adding that their importance can only manifest when there is freedom of expression.
The Catholic bishop reminded government of the critical roles the media have played in the past in sustaining the country’s national cohesion and ensure good governance.
“The freedom of media must be accorded because of their critical role played in enthroning good governance. I believe the government of the day and its successors have tremendously benefited from this role. Let government stop the idea of controlling the media, not even the government-owned media.”
He commended media professional on their public awareness efforts noting that despite challenges more have been achieved in strengthening the face-to-face interaction.
He urged media professionls to dwell more on issues bordering nation building and citizenship awareness.
The bishop appealled to government to strive more on areas managing the differences among ethnic and religious groups in the country.
Commenting on the recent religion watch list placed on Nigeria by the United States, the Catholic bishop reasoned that such move was not unconnected with decisions taken by the Federal Government on religious activities in the country.
He, however, called on religious leaders to conduct themselves in manners that could ensure peace and stability so that their adherents could emulate.
He, however, commended the border closure initiatives by the Federal Government which according to him, “has impacted positively on the area of security,” but advised the government to always engage citizens and other stakeholders’ views when coming up with such a policy.