Buhari: I’m not behind controversial media bills, ask Lai Mohammed




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President Muhammadu Buhari (l) and his minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed (r)

ABUJA – Some hours after the Nigerian Guild of Editors took on his government over two controversial anti-media Bills, President Muhammadu Buhari has distanced himself from them.

He also asked newsmen to meet Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed for clarification.

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, who spoke for Buhari, distanced the Presidency from the ongoing attempts at the to amend the Nigerian Press Council (NPC) Act and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Act, a move  media stakeholders have strongly condemned, saying is an attempt to muzzle the press.

Adesina made the clarification when answering questions from State House Correspondents after the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

According to him, the is a federal government thing that only the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, can address.

Asked to comment 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. So, thank you.”

Asked to react to ECOWAS Court ruling against for suspending  the micro-blogging platform, Twitter, Adesina said, the Attorney of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, is studying the ruling issued by the ECOWAS Court to the effect that Twitter users cannot be arrested or prosecuted.

He said the AGF would advise the federal government on the next step to take.

Adesina affirmed that the committee made up of ministers to engage with Twitter has begun to meet.

“The Attorney- of the Federation is going to study that report and then he’ll advise government on the way forward.

“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.”

Adesina said that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved that the Second Peer Review Country Self-assessment Report should be done.

He said: “The only thing of interest would like to talk about is the second Peer Review Country’s Self-assessment Report.

is ready for the second Peer Review Country Self -assessment Report to be done by AUDA-NEPAD. I think the last self-assessment report was done 10 years ago in Nigeria. Now, Nigeria is ready for the second review self-assessment report.

“It’s been discussed at the Council and the President has granted the approval that that peer review report can be conducted on Nigeria.

“Actually, if you have an insight into the report that was presented, which the woman in charge of NEPAD, Mrs. Akobundu, can give you, has made progress in several areas and on several fronts.

“While 10 years ago, petroleum contributed more than 70%, even up to 90%, to GDP, you will find that today, petroleum contributes just about 45% and non-oil products contribute about 55% to the Nigerian economy.

“So, if had been talking of diversification for 40, 50, 60 years, the economy can now be said to be diversified because our GDP, non-oil revenue, contributes about 55% to 45% of oil.

“So, it’s one of the highlights of the Peer Review Country Self-assessment Report that was presented at the Council meeting today. Details of that can be gotten from the AUDA-NEPAD office.

“That is the only thing we can talk about FEC today.  if there’s any question, then I’ll gladly take. Yes. Yes, thank you.”

The meeting which held at the conference hall of the First Lady’s office, State House, Abuja, has Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha and Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari in attendance.

Also in attendance were Ministers of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; Finance Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; Attorney and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; Defence, retired Bashir Magashi; Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire; Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige as well as Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami.

The Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Folashade Yemi-Esan and other Ministers attended virtually from their various offices in Abuja. (Metrowatchonline)