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Mark Assures On Senate Passage Of FOI Bill…Gives Conditions

Source: EMMA UCHE. - thewillnigeria.com
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ABUJA, March 03, (THEWILL) - President of the Senate, Senator David Mark yesterday assured that the Senate will join its counterpart in the House of Representatives to pass Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill into law soon. Senator Mark made the assurance when members of Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) Executive Members visited him to canvass for quick passage of the Bill by the senators.

However, he said the Bill rechristened assess to information Bill by the House of Representatives was not primarily a media Bill but a Bill for all Nigerians. To pass the Bill into law however, Senator Mark gave conditions that the media Proprietors and operators must show enough responsibility and entrench check and balance among the operators.

“Passage of the Bill into law is not a problem but we must show enough restrain and responsibility in order to avoid recklessness in the discharge of our duties. The media must be able to protect the ordinary man from abuse and recklessness by some its members,” Mark stated.

He stressed that the Senators like other Nigerians are anxious to pass the Bill in the interest of the nation but pointed out that such a passage should not compromise or undermine national security.

Earlier, the President of NPAN, Chief Olushola Ogunshola said they were at National Assembly to press on the Senate to facilitate the passage of the Freedom of information Bill into law.

Ogunshola was of the opinion that the Bill when passed into law would strengthen the media, promote democracy and facilitate development in the society adding that the passage of the Bill before the April elections would be appreciated.

Other members of the team including Alhaji Isa Funtua, Nduka Obaigbena of This Day, Kabiru Yusuf of Daily Trust, John Momoh of Channel Television as well as Sam Amuka of Vanguard all spoke in favour of the passage of the Bill into law.

They specifically requested that libel should not be criminalized maintaining that there is enough check and balance to curtail the excesses of some irresponsible practitioners.