Senator Ali Ndume, Chairman of Senate Army Committee, says he sees nothing wrong with the implementation of a Social Media Bill so that people would be held accountable for whatever they say.
The Senator disclosed this on Sunday in an interview with Channels TV. The bill has already passed Second Reading in the Senate.
What you should know
Nairametrics reported on the 1st of November that the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the Federal Government has no plans of shutting down social media but must regulate it to prevent the spread of hate speech.
The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olumide Akpata, said the Federal Government’s plan to introduce regulation of social media after the #EndSARS protests are suspicious, as the social media space is already regulated.
Amnesty International stated that the proposed social media regulation which has been supported by Ministers since the beginning of the #EndSARS protests would be used as a tool to punish critics of the government.
During his interview, Ndume stated that the 8th Senate had discussed the need to control social media, but insists freedom of speech should not be muzzled. He said he believes people should be held responsible for what they say or do.
He added that there is nothing wrong with a social media bill as people should be held accountable for what they say online.
“So, I feel that there is nothing wrong with having a social media bill, to define what you say or how you say it, and then what are the consequences of speaking out against somebody.
“As a politician, I have had a bad experience before, people say all sorts of things about you on social media about you and there is no way to control it, I think there is a gap in that, but it must go through the normal process.”
Ndume said before such a law is introduced, there would be public hearings to know the opinions of the masses as repressing freedom of Information may backfire.
” There must be a public hearing, hear out what is the opinion of the people and how it is, there should be control in something, even in the media, the news media, I hear sometimes people are sanctioned for doing things that are not right.
“At the same time, any society without freedom of expression is not good for us, because it will lead to another thing, but don’t forget the freedom of information bill, for example, was elected by the Nigerian Senate.
“There should be a law that guides or control the social media,” he said.