‘NBC, Press Council Bill has been suspended’ – Lawmaker says
The lawmaker from Oyo state, who sponsored the bills for the amendment to the laws establishing the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission and The Nigerian Press Council, Olusegun Odebunmi, says legislative process on the bills has been suspended.
The lawmaker revealed this while appearing 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 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.”
“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.”
Many Nigerians and media stakeholders have described the steps taken by the lower legislative chamber to amend the NBC and NPC acts as “draconian” and an attempt to stifle free speech in the country.
Odebunmi, the sponsor of the bill, has a bachelor’s degree in business education from the University of Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti state.
He worked as a petrol station attendant at Adeyemo Petroleum Nigeria Limited where he rose to the position of depot representative before becoming a politician.