The Social Media bill which underwent a second reading last week at the Nigerian Senate churned out a lot of criticism from Nigerians who held that, if the bill is brought to law, it will restrict the freedom of speech in the nation.
In addition to that, an in-house critic of the bill has also emerged. Senator Nicholas Tofowomo of Ondo South Senatorial District on November 25th of 2019, opined that the Social Media bill tagged ‘Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulations Bill, 2019,’ is a trivial replication of Nigerian laws.
According to Tofowomo, the conditions following the bill was part of the features of the already existing Cybercrime Act, 2015 bill, which was appended by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The lawmaker said: “The Cybercrime Act, signed into law by former President Goodluck Jonathan, has addressed internet usage and safety, with regards to prevention, prohibition, combating cybercrimes and threats to the cyberspaces, and also prescribes the punishments for cybercrime offenders.”
“The Constitution, which also guarantees freedom of expression as a fundamental right, also makes relevant provisions for the restrictions and derogation of such rights. So the aims and objectives of the new bill, ‘Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulations Bill 2019,’ has already been addressed in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Cybercrime Act, 2015.”
“I, therefore, enjoin Nigerians to follow due process by attending the public hearing of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to present their petitions, and air their views instead of complaining on social media,” he said.