Former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, has congratulated the Nigerian Press as the world marks the 2021 World Press Freedom Day.
In a statement released on his verified Twitter account on Monday, Atiku commended the Nigerian Press 'on the milestone it has attained through the years, more so in the enthronement of democracy in the country."
However, the Peoples Democratic Party's presidential candidate in the 2019 election lamented that press freedom is persistently bleeding under the current regime of the President, Major General Mihammadu Buhari (retd).
Speaking further, Atiku highlighted the intimidation faced by the press under the Buhari regime as well as the inability "of the people to freely express their thoughts," noting them as the cause of the disconnection between the people and government.
His statement came after the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) clamped down on Channels TV for interviewing an Indigenous Peoples of Biafra ( IPOB) leader for allegedly making secessionists comment without caution from the station's present.
The move was however met with a series of backlash from Nigerians who berated the Buhari government for bias, citing its alleged inaction for almost similar comments allegedly made by the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, during TV appearances.
Atiku's statement read: "The celebration of World Press Freedom Day suggests a twin notion of an independent media and freedom of expression, which is enshrined as a fundamental human right.
"These two notions have been acknowledged to be indispensable in the working of democracy. A democracy without press freedom is like having fanciful machinery without an energy source to power it.
"And just as our experience in Nigeria, especially in the past few years has shown, democracy becomes an immobile concept when press freedom and freedom of expression are trampled upon.
"The ability of the media to report stories without fears of clampdown and intimidation and the ability of the people to freely express their thoughts responsibly has come under persistent haemorrhage by the current administration in Nigeria.
"When the voice of the people is repressed in a democracy, the natural tendency is a disconnect between the people and government. In such a situation, good governance is compromised, and the effects of bad governance begin to assume more significant manifestations.
"…I wish to urge the media to continue to be the pathfinder in our unrelenting quest for a more prosperous and progressive nation."