Representatives of civil society groups, government and private institutions, and the media on Monday, asked the Senate to drop further consideration of the anti-social media bill, in the interest of Nigerians.
Our correspondents observed that only three speakers out of the 62 individuals, institutions and groups, who submitted memorandum and spoke at the public hearing organised by the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, supported the proposed legislation.
Those who opposed the bill argued that it violated the fundamental human rights of Nigerians and contravenes the existing international statutes to which Nigeria was a signatory.
They also insisted that there were sufficient legislation which had already taken care of protection from falsehood and manipulations.
The antagonists of the proposed legislation, sponsored by Senator Sani Musa, said the ambiguity of the bill would result to lack of citizen’s trust and confidence in governance.
They also noted with great concern that the similar law in Singapore where the bill was plagiarised, was being used by the government there to target critics and political enemies.
They were unanimous in their submissions that the emergence of social media had contributed greatly in expanding frontiers for good governance.
They said citizens reporting on government abuses had embolden citizens to hold government and their agencies accountable.
Those against the anti-social media legislation further argued that the bill would stifle the rights of freedom of expression as citizens would be too scared to speak up and hold the government accountable for their actions.
Shortly after the public hearing was declared open by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, Nigerians, who spoke at the hearing, kicked against the bill, on the grounds that it did not represent the interest of Nigerians.
Those who spoke against the bill included: the head of Civil Society Organisation Situation Room, Clement Nwankwo, the National President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Christopher Isiguzo and the Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Communication Commission, Umar Dambata