Nigeria-UK Discuss Electoral Act Amendment, PIB, Twitter Ban As Malami Hosts British Diplomat

Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN has hosted the High Commissioner of the Great Britain, Ms. Catriona Laing on Thursday.

The meeting which lasted for almost an hour discussed bilateral issues relating to Asset Recovery, Anti-corruption crusade, amendment of the Electoral Act, the Audit Bill, Petroleum Industry Bill, Twitter ban and counter-terrorism approaches.

Malami said the fundamental interest and objective of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration was to leverage the bill to enhance value in terms of creating amicable environment for investment, protecting the public interest for the maximum benefit of the country.

On Petroleum Industry Bill, the Minister said necessary steps have been taken to ensure the pending bills are transmitted to the President for assent.

Malami said the essence of the amendment of the Electoral Act was to enhance the democratic system thereby aiming at addressing delays in judicial determination of pre-election matters, as well as ensuring justice and fairness in the conduct of election processes including party primaries.

He said to strengthen the fight against corruption the government came up with the Proceeds of Crime Bill and Audit Bill among others.

Malami said public interest has been the uppermost consideration within which the context of freedom of expression should be regulated noting that reasonable restrictions to freedom of expression are locally and internationally recognized.

“Our government is not averse to freedom. Freedom is not borderless. Freedom of expression must not be used in such a manner that incites citizens to violence or calls for an overthrow of a democratically elected government. There are bounds to freedom within the laws,” he said.

On Twitter ban in the country, Malami said the government has established a committee on the matter and that the company has approached the government over the issue. He maintained that the interest of Nigerian interest matters most for any company that wants to do business in the country.

“If you want to operate as a business entity in Nigeria, you must do so within the context of Nigerian laws. Nothing offensive or that breach the Nigerian laws should be entertained”.

In her remarks, the High Commissioner of the Great Britain, Ms. Catriona Laing, thanked the Minister for the “clarification” of the issues maintaining that the steps taken in the fight against corruption and electoral reforms are “really encouraging”.

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