Buhari summons emergency Federal Executive Council Meeting •Distances self from anti-social media bill

Posted by News Express | 7 December 2015 | 2,981 times

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday held what the Federal Government called a special Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting within the Council Chambers at the Presidential Villa.

Before addressing the meeting, President Buhari swore in two Permanent Secretaries, Olakunle Bamgbose and Mahmood Dutse.

Both of them were unavoidably absent during the swearing in of other permanent secretaries a few weeks earlier.

Although details of the meeting was not  made known to State House correspondents, indications show the council is putting final touches to the 2016 budget with special attention to the medium term expenditure framework.

Buhari has meanwhile reiterated the commitment of his administration to the protection of free speech in keeping with democratic tradition.

He spoke through his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, who was reacting to the public hostility towards the social media bill now being debated by the Senate. Shehu said President Buhari has sworn to defend the constitution of Nigeria and would not lend his hand to anything that is inconsistent with the Constitution “but he is not averse to lawful regulation, so long as that is done within the ambit of the constitution which he swore to uphold.”

According to Shehu, “The President said free speech is central to democratic societies anywhere in the world. The President explained that without free speech, elected representatives won’t be able to gauge public feelings and moods about governance issues.

“As a key component of democratic principles,” the President acknowledged that people in democratic societies “are so emotionally attached to free speech that they would defend it with all their might.”

“Malam Garba Shehu explained that President Buhari is fully aware of the public reservations about the proposed legislation but assured that there is no cause for alarm “because the Senate is a democratic senate. The President won’t assent to any legislation that may be inconsistent with the constitution of Nigeria.”

•State House Photo shows Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Communications Minister Adebayo Shittu (L) and Works and Power Minister Babatunde Fashola ® exchanging banters during the emergency FEC Meeting . . . Monday in Abuja.

Source: News Express

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