I Didn’t Sponsor Bill to Criminalis­e Protests, Says Lawmaker

- Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The member of the House of Representa­tives representi­ng Ahiazu Mbaise and Ehinihitte Mbaise Federal Constituen­cy of Imo State, Hon. Emeka Chinedu has said that he didn’t sponsor a bill criminalis­ing protests in the country.

In a statement he issued yesterday, the lawmaker clarified that his bill which passed the first reading on Tuesday was twisted and misinterpr­eted, saying it was not seeking to jail protesters.

Chinedu said as a product of democracy he would not sponsor any bill that would criminalis­e protests and protesters.

“Having been inundated with calls and messages over a misconcept­ion gone viral, I wish to state that I am the PDP House of Representa­tives member representi­ng the good people of Ahiazu/Ezinihitte Mbaise Federal

Constituen­cy in the Green Chamber of the National Assembly, whose Bill that passed first reading on the floor of the chamber was twisted and misreprese­nted.

“The caption of the Bill that went viral was never my intent or opinion, neither was it an embodiment of the Bill I sponsored that passed the first reading on the floor of the National Assembly on Tuesday, July 6, 2021; hence, a clear case of misunderst­anding, misconcept­ion and misreprese­ntation of the facts.

“As a representa­tive of the people, whose political idealogy is rooted in democratic tenets, I can never be a party to a system that seeks to stifle or cripple dissenting voices whose right to freedom of assembly, expression and protest is guaranteed by the combined effort of section 39 and 40 of 1999 Constituti­on as amended, as well as Article 11 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Right to freely assemble.

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