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We Have Suspended Media Regulation Bill - Reps Member, Hon Olusegun Odebunmi

Olusegun Odebunmi, a federal lawmaker from Oyo state, who sponsored the bills for the amendment to the laws establishing the NBC and the NPC, says the legislative process on the bills has been suspended.

Many Nigerians and media stakeholders have described the steps taken by the lower legislative chamber to amend the Nigerian Press Council (NPC) and the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Acts as “draconian” and an attempt to stifle free speech in the country.

But speaking on Sunrise Daily, a Channels Television programme, on Tuesday, Odebunmi said he initiated the suspension of the bills to allow for consultation with stakeholders in the industry.

“Personally, I’m suspending the process for more consultation,” he said.

“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 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.”

The federal lawmaker also said his intention is not to gag the press, saying he recognises the lapses in the practice of journalism in Nigeria and that the amendments are aimed at fixing those problems.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

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