Edo Govt moves to abolish sedition, criminal defamation laws

The Edo State Government has started the process of abolishing the law of sedition and criminal defamation to engender freedom of speech and media practice.

Commissioner for Communication and Orientation in the state, Andrew Emwanta, said this in Benin on Thursday in a keynote address at the maiden edition of the Radio Nigeria, Bronze FM Benin inaugural lecture and award.

Mr Emwanta, who represented Governor Godwin Obaseki in the event, spoke on the role of the media in deepening Nigeria’s democracy.

He said the bill to abolish sedition and criminal defamation had been sent to the House of Assembly.

“Last Wednesday, the Edo State Executive Council considered and approved five executive bills for onward transmission to the Assembly for legislative action. One of the bills is the Edo State Criminal Law 2022 Bill.

“Under the proposed law, the provisions on Sedition and Criminal Defamation were taken out in line with decisions of appellate courts, which align with Constitutional provisions on the right to freedom of expression and the press,” he said.

Chris Isiguzo, the national president of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, charged the media to help Nigerians to choose the right candidates in the 2023 general elections.

“Without the media, there is no democracy. We normally say the judiciary is the last hope of the common man, but the current reality is that the media is the last hope of the common man.

“The media must be alive to its role as we move forward to the 2023 election.

“Virtually every state today has a presidential aspirant but the media must bring these characters to the people and help them to decide the right people,” he said.

In her remarks, the National President of the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists, Ladi Bala, expressed regret at the non-passage of women-related provisions at the on-going constitution review by the National Assembly.

Mrs Bala stated this while contributing to the lead paper which was delivered by Yemi Kolapo, the publisher of the Points newspaper.

In her welcome address, the General Manager of Radio Nigeria, Bronze FM, Abimbola Oyetunde, said the lecture series was instituted to impact more on the station’s immediate environment and on the larger society.(NAN)