- The minister of information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the purported bills to stifle press freedom are private member bills
- Mohammed said it is false and misleading to claim that the bills were sponsored by the federal government
- The minister who spoke in Lagos also advised stakeholders in the media industry on the necessary steps to take regarding the controversial bills
The Ministry of Information and Culture said a brief statement on its official Facebook Mohamed said in an interview with the media in Lagos that the proposed legislations are private member bills.
The ministry also shared a video of the interview on its page.
According to Voice of Nigeria, the information minister made the clarification on Friday, June 25, while speaking in respect of the outcome of the bill's public hearing.
Legit.ng gathers that the contentious bills are that of the Nigerian Press Council as well as the National Broadcasting Commission.
Mohammed explained that those berating him on the mentions bills have been doing so on a totally ill-informed and false premise.
“Any suggestion that the federal government has sponsored bills to stifle the press is a complete falsehood.This is a classic case of misinformation.”
The minister reiterated that the bills were sponsored by a member of the National Assembly and not by the federal government as widely insinuated.
The sponsor of the bill did nothing wrong
Though Mohammed dissociated the federal government from the bills, he opined that the National Assembly member who sponsored them has done nothing wrong in the sense that he is only doing what he was elected to do, that is, making laws.
He further explained that he was only invited to the public hearing in his capacity as a stakeholder and as the information minister to make contributions, just like many other stakeholders.
The minister berated those criticising the bills for failing to show up at the public hearing to air their views and make their contributions.
He advised the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Nigerian Guild of Editors and the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria to engage with the chairman of the House of Representatives committee on information to convey their reservations on the bills.
Twitter ban: Lai Mohammed encourages homegrown apps
Meanwhile, the minister of information has urged Nigerians to develop a microblogging application that will replace Twitter in the country.
Mohammed made the statement on Wednesday, June 23, when he appeared before a House of Representatives committee in Abuja to defend the decision of the federal government to suspend the operations of Twitter in Nigeria.
The minister advised Nigerians to take advantage of the ban on Twitter to develop their own app which will be patronised by citizens.