Chief Akanni Aluko, a renowned business mogul and publisher of the defunct Third Eye Newspapers, has cautioned the National Assembly against an attempt to gag the media, saying it would fail.
Aluko gave the warning while speaking with newsmen yesterday at his residence in Ibadan, saying, “Nobody can kill the press, irrespective of the attempt made”.
Aluko had on Friday celebrated his 78th birthday with friends and family in Ibadan.
The media bill sponsored by Rep. Segun Odebunmi (APC-Surulere/Ogo-Oluwa), had generated heated debate by media professionals, describing it as an attempt to gag the media.
Odebunmi, also the chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Information and National Orientation, had promised at different fora to drop the bill.
Aluko said the bill would smear the image of the sponsor. He said the sponsor of the bill had failed to realise that President Muhammadu Buhari would not do anything to suppress, bully or criminalise the media.
“Though, the sponsor of the bill had said that he was withdrawing the controversial bill temporarily, Odebunmi’s intention is to silence the media and render it powerless.
“Even if passed by the National Assembly, it is certain that the president will never ascent to such obnoxious bill that was meant to strangulate the media, the oxygen of the nation’s democracy.
“Odebunmi can’t assume what the president wants. He wanted to take the president for granted, but he was wrong.
“So, let’s leave him to that. You don’t need to kill the press that we all used to achieve fame, and which the younger generation too can use to get to the top,” he said.
Aluko recounted how he had been ill in the last 21 years, thanking God for allowing him to attain the age of 78 years.
“Today (Friday) is a milestone in my life, very wonderful; I thank only God for allowing me to reach 78. It has not been easy, I have been ill for the past 21 years.
“Look at me as if nothing has been wrong, except for few things, but God is taking care. I must continue to thank God for this wonderful gift of life,” the publisher said.
Aluko then prayed that Almighty God would grant Nigeria leaders the wisdom to lead the nation in the right path. (NAN)