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‘Buhari Has Nothing To Do With Proposed Amendment Of Press Council Bill’ – Presidency

Femi Adesina, senior adviser to the president on media and publicity, had on Wednesday June 23, 2021, said President Muhammadu Buhari “has nothing to do” with the plan to amend the Nigerian Press Council (NPC) act.

The bill, which seeks to repeal and re-enact the NPC act, was considered at a public hearing organised by the house of representatives committee on information, national orientation, ethics and values.

Media stakeholders had subsequently kicked against the proposed amendment over some provisions they described as unconstitutional.

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Azu Ishiekwene, a member of the Nigerian Press Organisation, NPO, covers the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN); Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), and the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) had said almost half of the 39 clauses in the bill contained unconstitutional regulations capable of stifling journalism practice.

Ishiekwene said the NPO had challenged the clauses up to the supreme court, and that continuing with the amendment would amount to preempting the court on the matter.

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However, Adesina clarified the position of the presidency while fielding questions from state house correspondents, after the weekly meeting of the federal executive council (FEC) on Wednesday, in Abuja.

He said the proposed amendment is a federal government initiative and as such, only the minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, can address it.

“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. So, thank you,” he said.

On the ECOWAS court ruling regarding the prosecution of violators of the ban on Twitter, Adesina said Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation, will study the report and advise the federal government on what to do.

“The attorney-general of the federation is going to study that report, and then he’ll advise the government on the way forward,” he said.

“The committee set up by the president to engage with Twitter is actually holding a meeting about now, or it will hold a meeting this afternoon (Wednesday) towards engaging with Twitter.”

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