Presidency says Punch Newspaper’s ‘General’ tag of Buhari is proof of press freedom

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The Presidency has reacted to the decision by Punch Newspaper to henceforth refer to President Muhammadu Buhari as General Buhari.

In a notice titled “Buhari’s lawlessness: Our Stand”, Punch stated that it will “henceforth prefix Buhari’s name with his rank as a military dictator in the 80s ‘Major General’ and refer to his administration as a regime until they purge themselves of their insufferable contempt for the rule of law.

The newspaper made the decision while making reference to DSS non-compliance to court orders on trial of Omoyele Sowore, publisher of SaharaReporters; invasion of courtroom and trial of Shiites’ leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky amongst others.

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Punch said its decision shows its protest against autocracy and military-style repression under Buhari’s administration.

However, in reaction to Punch’s decision, Femi Adesina, a Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, said the newspaper’s decision to call Buhari ‘Major General’ is not out of order.

Adesina on his Twitter page @FemiAdesina added that Buhari has earned the rank ‘Major General’

According to him, Punch’s publication is proof of press freedom under Buhari’s administration.

Adesina wrote: “If you decide to call him Major General, he wasn’t dashed the rank, he earned it. So, you are not completely out of order.

“The fact that you can do so is even another testimony to press freedom in Nigeria.”

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