Former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, has accused the Federal Government of plot to gag the media ahead of the release of the records containing his investigations by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). 

Atiku, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Public Communication, Phrank Shaibu, yesterday, claimed the President Tinubu-led administration has “become frustrated” with the Chicago State University scandal and was allegedly “planning a massive offensive in the coming days.”

The PDP candidate noted that the threat by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to sanction Arise Television was only a tip of the iceberg. He alleged that NBC had been watching as Tinubu’s media platforms have been constantly attacking the former vice president and had refused to even air opposition views.

He said in February, the NBC had fined a television station associated with President Tinubu, for airing a press briefing disparaging former president, Olusegun Obasanjo and the PDP candidate.

Nevertheless, the former vice president said: “Since Tinubu became president on May 29, the NBC has become more partisan than ever. The NBC boss, Balarabe Ilelah, is obviously seeking to retain his appointment and is now dancing to the tune of All Progressives Congress and their master at the Presidential Villa.

“The NBC has now been co-opted into a grand plot to gag the media over Tinubu’s certificate scandal. Having lost the battle in the court of public opinion, they are now trying to use the powers of the state to browbeat the media into silence. This is, indeed, shameful for a man who claimed to be a hero of the June 12 struggle.

“But this is not the time for the Nigerian media to show any weakness. The trove of documents that the FBI is set to release this month will expose details of the investigation that tied Tinubu to heroin trafficking. The dissemination of this information must not be left to social media alone. The media must rise to its role as the watchdog of society as enshrined in Section 22 of the 1999 Constitution.”

Atiku, while accusing the Federal Government and the APC-led Senate of alleged hypocrisy, said a ministerial nominee was denied confirmation over alleged certificate forgery, even though the lady in question had tried so much to defend herself.

According to him, “however, amid allegations of certificate forgery, the Senate refused to confirm her while the authorities continued to investigate her. However, in the case of Tinubu, who holds the highest office in the land, they want Nigerians to overlook it. They are asking Nigerians to focus on governance instead.

“Isn’t it ironic that the bar has been lowered for the office of the president? Is it not mind-boggling that people who would not employ even third glass graduates in their private companies are the same ones now defending certificate forgery? The hypocrisy is indeed disturbing.”

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