Amidst severe criticisms by Nigerians that it may violate the constitutionally-guaranteed rights of expression if enacted, the Bill for an act to regulate the spread of information on the internet passed its second reading in the Senate, on Tuesday.
The bill enttled: “Provisions for the Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation Bill, 2019 (SB.132) sponsored by Senator Muhammad Sani Musa, Niger East senatorial district, seeks a jail term, fine or both for defaulters.
Meanwhile, several Nigerian youths, media practitioners and major stakeholders have taken to social media, especially the micro-blogging site, Twitter, in protest against the contentious Bill, noting that the Senate should direct the energy to pressing national matters
The trending hashtag “SignThePetition” and “SayNoToSocialMediaBill” urges Nigerians to sign the petition, saying it would pressure the senate to withdraw the controversial bill.
Below are the tweets:
So I will be punished by law for saying Muhammadu Buhari @MBuhari is incompetent, clueless, inept and a failure #ICIF but Muhammadu Buhari @MBuhari will not be punished for being incompetent, clueless, inept and a failure?#SayNoToSocialMediaBill
— Aisha Yesufu (@AishaYesufu) November 22, 2019
I hope all the Senators from South Western Nigeria will #SayNoToSocialMediaBill. You are in parliament to represent us. You are in parliament to legislate on progressive policies per health, education, infrastructural development and job creation. Not to stifle criticisms.
— Dr. Dípò Awójídé (@OgbeniDipo) November 22, 2019
As long as the social media bill is to stop people posting falsehood, I dont have a problem with that.
As long as we post what is true, we are good. Make dem dey waste energy on that n not increase minimum wage and make policies that will benefit the masses too.#SocialMediaBill
— RUGGEDMAN (@RuggedyBaba) November 21, 2019
This social media bill will finish us as a nation because the only thing we have is our voice. Social media this year has shown us a tiny spec of just how much power we have when we come together with one voice.
Now they want to take that from us.
WE SAY NO!#SocialMediaBill
— Jemima (@JemimaOsunde) November 22, 2019
Under the proposed #SocialMediaBill, with jail terms of up to 3 years, the government are given broad powers to determine what is fake news & punish those who create & spread them.#SayNoToSocialMediaBill pic.twitter.com/55XA3tueuI
— EiE Nigeria (@EiENigeria) November 22, 2019
Dear Senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We are all watching.There's already legislation dealing with fake news. This bill is redundant and will only further stifle free speech, in a country that seems set up to war with its young people. #SayNoToSocialMediaBill
— Banky Wellington (@BankyW) November 23, 2019
Please sign the petition guys. Let's get this to AT LEAST 100,000 signatures. Our Senators, instead of representing and working for us, are attempting to shut us up. We can't sit back and watch.#SayNoToSocialMediaBill#SayNoToHateSpeechBillhttps://t.co/zQz5lhUlPd
— Banky Wellington (@BankyW) November 23, 2019
#SocialMediaBill will silence your voice and mine and then, conquer us as a people. Meanwhile, it is our constitutional right to be able to express views on social & political issues without fear of being slandered, accused of hate speech, or hung to death#SayNoToSocialMediaBill pic.twitter.com/dWBC1LtOSQ
— Reformers Of Africa (@ReformersAfrica) November 22, 2019
I, Adejumo Kabir #SayNoToSocialMediaBill. Freedom of expression is a natural right and fundamental right of every human. Regulation of social media gives back up to the illegal arrest and detention of critics on the current administration. No! No!! No!!!
— Adejumo Kabir A. (@AdejumoKabir2) November 22, 2019
Senator Sani Musa’s bill is a criminal mis-normer. It has little to do with Internet falsehoods or manipulation. Rather, it seeks to throttle active citizenship in #Nigeria & punish truth telling to people in power today.#SayNoToSocialMediaBillًhttps://t.co/DVvtC31WqS
— Chidi Odinkalu (@ChidiOdinkalu) November 23, 2019
— WAJE (@OfficialWaje) November 23, 2019
All well meaning Nigerians must add their voices to the call against gagging of free speech in Nigeria , there are existing laws that deal with spreading falsehood, The bill before the senate is just to force Nigerians against airing their views
— Hamma (@HAHayatu) November 23, 2019
This Social Media Bill is very worrisome. We're used to taking everything so lightly. I doubt most of us understand the implications of this if it gets passed. The things I've been reading are crazy. Freedom of speech is almost all the power we have left #SayNoToSocialMediaBill
— Simi (@SympLySimi) November 22, 2019