The sponsor of the controversial ‘anti-social media bill’ in the Nigerian Senate, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah has said no amount of intimidation will stop the bill. Many criticism and protest from Nigerians have trailed the bill since it came to public knowledge. The Bill seeks to censor the use of social-media ad send people to jail for posting certain information on social media. The Bill is titled “A Bill for an Act to Prohibit Frivolous Petitions and other Matters Connected therewith,” and prescribe a two years jail term or a fine of N2 million or both for anybody that posts or broadcasts false, abusive statements on social media.
“I sponsored the bill to sanitize information flow on the social media. The social media is a very valuable platform for dissemination of information and it has helped this country greatly but of recent we have seen some few ‘bad eggs’ who have turned it into a business venture.
“They collect money from people and go into the social media to tarnish the image of their political opponents. It is against this backdrop that we felt people should behave responsibly on the platform.
“They ask you to bring money or they post things that will portray you in bad light or alternatively they collect money from other political opponents and post unfavourable things about you. This is not going to augur well for this country.” Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah said
He continued “We had in our legislative agenda, the idea of making sure that this country is ruled by law and we are of the view that the only way this country can move forward is if there are laws and they are enforced and that was why the ICT committee of the Senate was created.
“We felt the need that all these things must be regulated. All the areas where we have seen hitches in our democratic journey, we want to make sure that they are corrected.”
On freedom of expression, he said “If you have freedom of expression, it is not absolute. The fact that you have freedom of expression does not give you the licence to continue to go and make allegations against people because those people too have their own right, which is called dignity of human person.”