Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, over the weekend, assured online publishers and other social network operators that the Senate would not censor the media.
Saraki gave the assurance during his meeting with the Executive Board of the Online Publishers Association of Nigeria, OPAN, led by its President, Olufemi Awoyemi, over the widely criticised “Frivolous Petitions Prohibition Bill 2015” popularly tagged “Anti-Social Media Bill” at the National Assembly.
The Senate president, according to a statement by his Special Assistant (New Media), Bamikole Omishore, said he would not support any form of censorship of the media, stressing that the eighth Senate remains committed to the principles of fair, responsible and open engagement.
“The Senate has no intention to pass any legislation to control or gag the press.”
Saraki, however, charged the group to ensure that international best practices are adopted, while also abiding by the ethics of journalism.
Earlier, Owoyemi said the association comprises of credible publishers of online platforms and newspapers with online presence.
“In OPAN’s assessment, the legislature remains critical to how Nigeria quickly harnesses the potentials of online technology and the use of social media as a critical component of citizen engagement. To achieve this, OPAN Nigeria sees a link between constitutionally provided freedom of expression and responsible conduct and engagement by users and publishers.
“We aim to ensure responsible conduct across digital platforms which in some cases are as simple as recognising the variants in existing laws around newspaper, radio, television and digital publishing and broadcast,” he stressed.
C’ttee on recovery of govt property nets N5.7bn in Bauchi
A committee set up by the Bauchi State Government to recover property illegally carted away by officials of the last administration has recovered assets worth N5.7 billion.
A statement signed by the Special Adviser to Governor Mohammed Abubakar on Media and Communication, Yakubu Ibn Mohammed, said the property included movable and landed property carted away in eight years.
Mohammed named 86 vehicles, generators, 31 air conditioners, 311.54 hectares and 97 plots of land as some of the property recovered by the committee.
“The interim report on Orphans and Vulnerable Agency showed betrayal of public trust by principal officers of the agency that doubled as procurement officers. False documentation and inflation of costs exemplified by the purchase of six laptops at N6 million and granting approvals over and above the official limit permeated the report,’’ he said.
He added that “N488.55 million expenditure spent under questionable circumstances by the officials is yet to be accounted for.”
Mohammed said the report indicated that N2 billion loan obtained through the agency from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to boost Small and Medium Enterprises, was diverted.
He asserted that “N1.5 million out of the N2 billion was diverted to address security challenges in the state, leaving N500 million for disbursement to 13 microfinance institutions for lending to small scale enterprises.”
The special adviser said the report revealed wanton disregard for laid down rules and regulations pertaining to the sale and allocation of government landed and movable property within the period under review.
Alhaji Salisu Barau, former Commissioner for Information during the period under review, described the allegation as ‘false’.
Barau said former Governor Isa Yuguda followed due process in allocating the property to his former aides and officials.
He said the affected officials have filed a suit and judgement would be delivered in their favour.

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