Lagos State government has promised to allow members of the media to review and critique bills coming from the state before such will be passed into laws.
This is to forstal protests and agitation such as those that greeted the passage of the Land Use Charge law that recently aggrieved some members of the public before the government backtracked.
Commissioner for Information,Kehinde Bamigbetan, said this on Monday in Lagos, when he addressed members of the press at the commencement of the 2018 Ministerial Press Briefing.
The Commissioner said when bills go to the house, they’re usually available for circulation to journalists. He added that the journalists themselves needed to show more effort in tracking such bills, as a follow up mechanism.
“Moving forward, we will be giving journalists the opportunity to have a say when it comes to passage of bills into law. When bills go to the House, they’re available for circulation. Journalists should endeavour to show more effort in tracking these bills as follow up, and not wait till these bills are passed into law.
“We intend to give preference to three categories of journalists in this regard. The Lagos State Governor’s Office Correspondents, LAGOCO, beat correspondents and Judiciary correspondents. We will invite them for discussion, an opportunity to air their views and share informed opinions on any proposed bill before such bills are passed into law. By so doing, we will be able to tackle any loose ends and avoid any misunderstanding that may arise in the public after the bill might have been passed,” Bamigbetan said.
On additional efforts being made to engage the members of the public, he said the state’s Facebook page account now has over 296,000 followers, marking an increment of 14 percent from the initial 259,147 followers as at April 2017. He added that the ministry’s target this year is to attract two million followers.
Bamigbetan stressed the need for government to encourage social media users and online media owners to express themselves and to show them how responsible reportage should be done.
He added that, as a government, content was available at their disposal. This, he said, should be capitalised upon.
Responding to the fact that the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Ikeja branch, was still opposed to the amended Land Use Charge, he said it was the right of every Nigerian to seek redress. This, he said, was fundamental.