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Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Protesters March to National Assembly, demand scrapping of social media Bill


Hundreds of protesters Tuesday marched into Nigeria's Parliament building (National Assembly) demanding a halt to the "frivolous petitions and other related matters Bill" popularly known as anti social media Bill which many social media users in Nigeria believe is meant to gag them.


The Bill which stipulates a two to four year jail term for Nigerians who put up "false" information about other people on the social media has generated a lot of debate in the country as lawmakers insist it is meant to stop character assassination and frivolous petitions which they say has continued to damage the reputation of well meaning Nigerians.

However the protesters are calling on the legislators to concentrate on other critical issues and avoid taking away the constitutional rights of Nigerians to free speech.

One of the protesters, Aisha Yesufu said: "there are already laws that deal with false and malicious information, when you feel someone has said something false about you, you go to court, you do not shut down the social media, people have the constitutional right to talk and express their views, when you have a Senate sitting down and talking about a social media Bill when we have such pressing issues as mass unemployment, insecurity and the rest, it's laughable and unnaceptable".
The Senate had earlier in the week called for inputs by the public before the Bill can be passed into law.
President Muhammadu Buhari had also dissociated himself from the Bill following allegations that he orchestrated it like he did with decree 4 which was promulgated by the military government in 1984 aimed at gagging the critical media at the time.

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