Presidency distances self from media proposed bills amendment, says Malami studying ruling on Twitter ban
• Activist cautions against the reintroduction of Decree 4
The Presidency, yesterday, warned against being dragged into the war of attrition greeting the move by the National Assembly to amend the Nigerian Press Council (NPC) and National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Acts.
It spoke following the condemnations by relevant stakeholders of alleged attempt to muzzle the press.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, maintained that the initiative was completely outside the Presidency’s purview, noting that the matter was a government thing, which only the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, could adequately address.
Adesina made the clarification while addressing State House correspondents at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja.
Probed on the issue, he said: “That is not strictly a Presidency thing because the President has nothing to do with that. It’s a government thing and it’s the minister that can talk about it.”
The presidential spokesman also disclosed that the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, was studying the ruling of the ECOWAS Court that held that Twitter users cannot be arrested or prosecuted following the suspension of the micro-blogging platform in Nigeria.
He said the AGF would, thereafter, advise the Federal Government on the next step to take.
The former president of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) confirmed that the committee raised to negotiate with the social media giant has begun meeting.
He also affirmed that his principal had directed that the second peer review country self-assessment report be carried out.
RELATEDLY, socio-political activist and critic, Chief Adesunbo Onitiri, has cautioned the President Buhari administration against reviving the dreaded Decree 4 through the back door.
In a statement yesterday in Lagos, Onitiri said the reintroduction of the law in the guise of amending extant media laws by the All Progressives Congress (APC) government would be resisted by democrats through constitutional means.
He stated that the proposed amendments were diversionary when millions of Nigerians are dying of hunger and “farmers could not go to their farms, people’s movement restrained because of insecurity perpetrated by armed herdsmen, kidnappers and terrorists, while corruption has reached rooftops and the economy remaining in comatose.”
Stressing that the press should be left to maintain its Fourth Estate of the Realm tag as a watchdog, the critic added that embarking on the voyage amounts to taking the people for a ride and testing their will in the face of adversity.