By Ebi Perekeme
Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, has stressed the need for press freedom in the country, saying it will guarantee right to freedom of expression and boost the nation’s democratic experience.
Speaking to journalists in Abuja during the House of Representatives Press Corps’ Annual Dinner and Award ceremonies, Diri said the importance of a free press in a democracy could not be over-stressed, as it plays a major role in the development process.
A statement issued yesterday by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as expressing delight over the development of the Nigerian Press over the years, noting, however, that there is still room for improvement.
He commended the House of Reps Press Corps for honouring him with Pride of The House of Representatives Award, saying it will spur him to do more.
Diri restated his belief in the unity of Nigeria built on the principles of justice and equity and called for a reconciliatory mode of governance to right the wrongs that have polarised the country.
“I am happy that my colleagues in the House still recognise our efforts. I am happy that they have their eagle eyes on my administration and our state and it will spur us to more action.
“I was shocked when I saw the level of what we have done recorded by the House of Representatives Press Corps. That is why we always advocate for freedom of the press. There is no absolute freedom anywhere, but we must allow the press to be free and open.
“I believe this is a great country and I believe in the unity of this country, but there must always be justice and equity for all,” he said.
Diri was a member of the House of Representatives between 2015 and 2019 and was in the Senate from June 2019 to February 13, 2020.