Social Media Bill Passes Second Reading In The Senate

The social media bill on Wednesday passed the second reading in the Senate.

The Bill titled: “A Bill for an Act to make provisions for the protection from internet falsehood and manipulations and for related matters, 2019,” was sponsored by Senator representing Niger East, Mohammed Sani Musa.

The bill is expected to restrict cyberspace falsehood against Nigerians if passed into law.

In his debate, Sen. Musa stressed that the bill was necessary to curb the excesses of those who use the social media to cause disaffection and assassination of character through fake news.

He said: “The hoax about the death of President Muhammadu Buhari in London and his replacement with Jibril from Sudan was a great threat to the peace and security of this country.”

The Senator representing Kebbi North Senatorial district, Bala Ibn N’allah, coming on Order 39(1)(3) said the social media law would support the right to Freedom of expression which was stated in the Constitution.

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He noted that he has been vindicated after someone else brought the bill he was persecuted for when sponsored in the 8th Assembly.

“I am not so happy standing here, but have been vindicated when I sponsored the bill in the 8th Assembly and I was persecuted.”

Senators Ibrahim Gobir, Ishaku Clifford Elisha Abbo, Abba Moro and Bala Ibn Na’Allah supported the Bill.

Senator Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu East), however raised strong opposition the Bill.

Speaking on the bill on Wednesday, he stated that cyberspace laws were enough to take care of the bill, saying that other advanced countries never established such laws.

“Yes, fake news has done a lot in America, but they have not legislated on restricting their citizens when it comes to social media contents.”

When the Bill was put to voice vote by Senate President Ahmad Lawan, Senators approved it for second reading.

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, referred the bill to the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters.

The committee is expected to present its report on the bill in four weeks.