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‘Information Blackout’: Press Bill Suspended For More Consultation -Sponsor, Segun Odebunmi

The lawmaker representing Ogo Oluwa/Surulere Federal Constituency of Oyo State in the House of Representatives, Segun Odebunmi, has said that the Nigeria Press Council and the National Broadcasting Commission Amendment Bill has been suspended.

Odebunmi, who is the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Information National Orientation Ethics and Values, said the bill was suspended for more consultation.

This is coming hours after the front banners of major newspapers in Nigeria on Monday bore a picture of an individual with a sealed mouth.

The picture had as its caption “Information Blackout …It’s not just against the media….it’s about society’s right to know, your right to be heard.”

The message was jointly released by the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Nigerian Guild of Editors and Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria against the bill aimed at gagging the media.

While appearing as a guest on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily on Tuesday, Odebunmi said, “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.

“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.”

Graduating with a Bachelor of Education in Business Education from the University of Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State in 2002, Odebunmi previously worked as a petrol station attendant at Adeyemo Petroleum Nigeria Limited where he rose to the position of depot representative before becoming a politician.

SOURCE: PUNCH

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