Just days after a fiery attack on the Presidency, Lagos lawyer, Femi Falana, on Friday, met with President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Villa over what the former described as private affair.
Emerging an hour later from the meeting which held behind closed doors, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) chieftain told journalists that he only came to see the President as a stakeholder in the affairs of the country.
The lead counsel to Leadership Newspapers in its current legal battle with Aso Rock, also denied that the visit could be in connection with efforts to negotiate an amicable resolution of the court case of forgery against two of the newspaper’s staff.
The two Leadership editorial staff members were arrested and charged to court after the Presidency accused the media house of deliberately publishing a document purporting to be a “presidential directive” to government agencies to move against opposition parties, among others.
Falana, a human rights activist, had earlier in the week condemned what he described as harassment of media houses, stifling of free speech and intimidation of Nigerians with dissenting voices by the Jonathan administration, saying it is becoming worse than what played out in the military era.
In a statement titled:s “The Abuse of Free Speech Must Stop Now!”, Falana had lamented that the nation was witnessing the progressive proscription of free speech in spite of the much touted respect for the fundamental rights of Nigerian citizens by the Goodluck Jonathan administration, the freedom of expression guaranteed.
“The resort to harassment of media houses and intimidation of citizens who hold divergent views has confirmed that the administration has concluded arrangements to impose a culture of silence and fear on the country.
“Let the Jonathan Administration be reminded that neither the colonial regime nor the military junta which foolishly criminalised freedom of speech succeeded in cowing Nigerians to submission,” the statement said.