Segun Odebunmi, Sponsor of the Nigeria Press Council (NPC) and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Amendment Bill, has suspended the bill.
Odebunmi who is also the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Information National Orientation Ethics and Values, said he has agreed to suspend the bill to allow for proper consultations.
The suspension comes days after most Nigerian newspapers kicked against the bill on the front pages of dailies.
The headlines posited that the NPC and NBC (Media) Act amendment bills being considered by the National Assembly were geared against press freedom and citizens’ right to information.
Speaking to Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily on Tuesday, he denied claims that the bill was targeted at gagging the media.
He rather maintained that it is aimed at removing identified hindrances to optimum performance.
“We have been on this process for a while and right now, we have suspended it 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.”