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Nigerian Press Council Says Absence Of Governing Board Impeding Work

The Nigerian Press Council (NPC) has said that it is handicapped in addressing complaints received due to the absence of a governing board as prescribed by the enabling act that established the council.
The council’s Executive Secretary, Mr Nnamdi Njemanze, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Thursday.
He said that since the last board was dissolved in 2011, it had yet to be reconstituted, thus making it difficult for the council to resolve complaints brought before it.
According to him, the procedure in addressing complaints is that after processing them, they would be forwarded to the board to sit and take the necessary decisions.
“This situation it makes it difficult for the officials of the council to make any pronouncement about any complaint.
“ If you look at the law setting up the council, it makes provision for the various platforms such as NUJ, members of the public, Guild of Editors, newspapers association, among others.’’
He noted that the last board had a retired permanent secretary, who was also an accountant as chairman, which according to him, is contrary to the prescription of the enabling Act establishing the council.
He also noted that the board had four representatives from the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON), Voice of Nigeria (VON) and NAN.
He said that by the time the board was dissolved, the council made a representation to the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, drawing its attention to some anomalies in the constitution of the board.
“The last board had a retired permanent secretary and accountant as the chairman, which was not in line with the provisions of the enabling Act of the council.
“ This, among other anomalies, need to be corrected in order for the council to forge ahead.’’
He also stressed the need to adhere strictly to the provisions of the enabling Act in the constitution of board of the council.
He explained that in addressing complaints received, the council would notify all the newspaper houses complained against and ask them to indicate whether or not they would want the council to handle the matter.
“If the answer is no, the council cannot force them; rather, it will convey the position of the newspaper house to the complainants.
“ The council has no choice than to allow them to do what pleases them.’’
According to Njemanze, the council received 13 complaints from across the country in 2015, of which one newspaper elected to go to court rather than allow the council to look into the matter.
“Of all the 13 complaints, only one newspaper houses wrote to the council that they prefer going to court rather than allowing the council to look into the matter.’’
According to him, the council received 59 complaints between 2012 and 2014.
He, however, expressed optimism that as soon as the board was duly reconstituted, all complaints would be speedily resolved.
“We want everything done according to the Act that established the Nigerian Press Council for posterity,” the executive secretary said. (NAN)

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