National Coordinator of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), Otunba Gani Adams says something must be terribly wrong for the Senate to seek to introduce a bill that makes it an offence to publish any petition or complaint against a public officer without being supported with a sworn affidavit.
Adams said the intention of the Senate is to plan a coup on the media with the introduction of the bill.
Speaking with journalists in Lagos on Thursday, Adams said instead of gagging the media, any one who feels slandered should seek redress in court.
“I see this as a coup against the media, which by extension, is a coup against the people. It is disturbing that the same senate that got its mandate from the people is now seeking to gag them. I fear that something terrible is really wrong.”
“In 1984, during the administration of General Muhammadu Buhari, the Decree 4 was introduced and journalists were jailed for doing their job of writing. It is curious that a similar bill is being planned by the senate now that Buhari is a civilian president. The media is the life wire of democracy, and any attempt to gag it spells doom for our nascent democracy.”
“I am not encouraging people to defame anybody. Rather, I am appealing to media practitioners in the country to do their job with every sense of responsibility and to see themselves as the pillar on which our democracy rests. I also believe that the courts is the last hope of the common man.
Therefore, I will advise that instead of seeking to gag the media let anybody who feels defamed by another person approach the court for redress. I think that is a better way of strengthening our democracy.”