By Chinonso Alozie
Owerri — Imo State House of Assembly, Wednesday, succumbed to pressure and stepped down the controversial anti-media bill.
Deputy Speaker, Ugonna Ozuruigbo, who is the sponsor of the bill, officially announced at the floor of the House his intention to discontinue with the bill.
He said: “The need to obliterate the misconceptions, misgivings and unwarranted out-cries that greeted this bill, that I hereby inform this Imo State House of Assembly, that I have stepped down my sponsorship of this bill.
“A bill for a law to repeal and re-enact the Newspaper Law of Eastern region of Nigeria No. 24 of 1995 and Newspaper Edict No. 3 of 1984 and other matters connected thereto is hereby stepped down and suspended from the proceedings of the Imo State House of Assembly. That this said bill shall forthwith seize all manner and howsoever deliberations on the said bill.”
He also argued that “ the good intents of this bill have been misconceived, not minding the opportunities which it has availed the direct beneficiaries (newspaper proprietors and news agents) of this bill, to help restructure this obsolete law and make it to suit the present civilized standards in media practice.”
But Chairman, House Committee on Information, Mr Kennedy Ibeh, said he was not opposing the stepping down of the bill.
He said: “I am not opposing the stepping down of the bill by the sponsor but I want to let the House know that the bill is at the committee stage and that the committee determines whether the bill will come up for third reading. It is not our intention that Imo State remain stagnant while other states are moving forward.”