House of Representatives member, Olusegun Odebunmi who is behind the controversial bills seeking amendment of laws establishing the NBC and the NPC, has disclosed that they have been suspended.
Recall that the bills seeking to amend the Nigerian Press Council (NPC) and the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Acts has been described as “draconian and an attempt to stifle free speech in the country.”
Appearing on a Channels Television programme on Tuesday July 13, the federal lawmaker said he is suspending the bill for more consultation. Odebunmi also insisted that the National Union of Journalists cannot gag the activities of the national assembly.
“Personally, I’m suspending the process for more consultation.
“What I’m saying is that the NUJ cannot gag the activities of the national assembly by saying ‘No you must drop it’, because obviously that is not the way.
“We have suspended the process for more consultation to happen on it. They demanded for a lot of time and I said ‘no problem, we have given you; even if you spend three, four to five weeks’. So far, more consultations from critical stakeholders, and many people have been submitting their memoranda to the national assembly even within the industry.”
Responding to allegation of the bill being an attempt to gag the press, Odebunmi said;
“My intention is not to gag the press, and unless all the practitioners can say all is well with the industry, to the best of my knowledge I know all is not well. And I know the national assembly has the power to look into the existing act.
“All is not well with the NPC agency. It is an agency of government, and you’re expecting something to be given back to the society, but until now nothing has been coming from the agency.”