The presidency says President Muhammadu Buhari is not involved in the Nigerian Press Council Amendment Bill 2018 that has received backlash from media stakeholder across the country.
The bill, which was recently passed for second reading at the senate, seeks to empower the Nigerian Press Council on decisions relating to training institutions and professional qualifications that would be acceptable for journalism practice in Nigeria.
Garba Shehu, senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, was quoted as making the clarification in a statement by Abiodun Oladunjoye, deputy director, state house media office, on Wednesday.
The Nigerian Press Organisation (NPO) — made up of the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (NPAN), Nigeria Guild of Editors (NGE), Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) and other media stakeholders — had condemned the bill, describing it as “draconian and unconstitutional”.
But in the statement, Shehu said all the criticism heaped on the federal government were misplaced since the President was “not involved in it”.
“This is a privately-sponsored bill. President Muhammadu Buhari is not involved,” Shehu was quoted as saying.
“President Buhari should not be blamed for the actions of the legislators whom we voted to represent us in the national assembly.
“At the same time, the presidency would like to assure everyone that, however the process ends, President Buhari will not compromise his impeccable and untainted democratic credentials by signing into law, any bill that violates the letter or the spirit of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.