Critical review on the Nigerian social media bill

A critical review on the much debated Nigerian social media bill

By
Akindele Peter
(Political writer, CN)

Compiled on 15 December 2015

Published on 18 December 2015

It behooves me here to categorically express my opinion on the controversial social media bill being proposed by the Nigerian hallowed house of Senate. The bill is sponsored by the Senate deputy majority leader in the person of Senator N’allah.

The bill has been read twice in the house which means the bill is gradually moving to the point of assent. Basically, the bill is aimed at controlling and regulating the degree of blackmailing of government officials and some government decisions on social media by social network users. Fundamentally, this bill is also aimed to gag the press about some affairs of these government elected and appointed officials which they intend to be confidential.

If this bill is ratified, individual Nigerians that are conscious about the affairs of the government will not have the right to express, criticize or condemn any government policy or decision, which would have deprived us of the fundamental human right of freedom of speech and expression that is boldly stated in section 22, 28 and 29(1) as amended in our sacrosanct constitution.

Although, social media has some disadvantages which also need to be controlled, like false report, cyber booing etc. Nevertheless, the advantages of social media completely outweigh its disadvantages because through social media, people condemn, commend and freely discuss any government policy or decision ranging from grass-root to foreign affairs. Also, through social media, majority of the proponents of the bill got to the senate by blackmailing, condemning and writing scurrilous articles about their predecessors. I wouldn’t propose as valid the argument that Senators have turned their backs on the same social media that got them elected. It has been the norm for them to show two sides, before and after elections. But can we blame them? Circumstances have shown that even the most upright of them who think out of the box often get compromised and are caged in a box by mere affiliation.

We shouldn’t be of the illusion of expecting an embracement to modernization considering the most recent commissioning of the so-called archaic suggestion boxes. A feat some deemed laudable in an era of instant messaging, online forums, video conferencing, emails, faxes, websites and so on. Even with its disadvantages, the importance of the social media in promoting better legislation and by extension, good governance can never be overemphasized in a technologically advancing world.

Nigeria has more pressing issues that need urgent deliberation at the hallowed chambers and gagging the Social Media is certainly not a topic for discussion let alone a bill to be passed. Social media has been a watchdog to our government officials and people have been using it to protest and warn any erring government officials.

With these advantages that people derived from free social media usage, it will be unreasonable for any democratic government to accent this tendentious social media bill.

I urge every social media users to join us in using our social media synergy to disseminate and sensitize the people about this undemocratic bill.

Edited by:

Obalakun Ayomide

Bewaji Emmanuel

©2015
CN Media House

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2 thoughts on “Critical review on the Nigerian social media bill

  1. THE PROPOSED SOCIAL MEDIA BILL BY THE SENATE IS ON THE VERGE OF BEING PASSED.
    IT IS A NEO LIBERAL ATTACK!

    It is crystal clear that in recent times, the Nigerian Government is only fond of making anti people policies. Those who pilot the affairs of our Nation have only turned democracy which they claim to represent the other way round; it is now government of the rich, by the rich and for rich.

    Why will a democratic government wake up one day and decide to pass Social media bill? It is an attack on Socioeconomic right of the citizens. In plain language, the bill seeks to circumscribe the inalienable rights of Nigerians to freely speak as guaranteed in sections 22,38 and 39(1) of the 1999 constitution as amended.

    If the claim of the bill as sponsored by the Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah and supported by the majority of the senators is to prevent social media operators from slandering members of the public and they the Law makers, then where did they put the already existing laws, Cyber Crime Act of defamation, treason and libel?
    Great Nigerians, there is need for us to stop looking at this mephistophelian act with armchair theorizing but with more intellectual approach. These senators only want to use this means to protect themselves from public criticism and exposure, but they are short sighted of the fact that these are means of gauging public opinions and expressions.

    It is now audible to the deaf and visible to the blind that the so called CHANGE the APC is advocating has been nothing but anti people change so far. If not, then there is need for Mr President to stand against this act of social media bill which will subject convicts to 2-year jail term or 2 million naira fine or even both.

    The duty of a true patriot is to protect his country, even from its Government.
    ##NOTOSOCIALMEDIABILL##

    COMRADE VON.

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  2. If only Nigerian youths will take time to read this…
    CLASS CONSCIOUSNESS OF THE YOUTH

    Understanding where we belong, where we are and where we want to be.

    Amidst all hitherto history of the society is the history of class struggle-Karl Marx.
    It is of highest priority at this point in time that the young generations should have, not just idea of where we fall to, but critical understanding of where(the class) we belong.
    It is no doubt that majority of us at our tender age, were being referred to as leaders of tomorrow. However, it has equally dawned on us that even those who have been in power since those tender ages of ours are ruling till date. The best they do is handover the staff to their children; making leadership power a family royal entitlement of some class. They leave no space/place for the average youths. Then we begin to ask ourselves, when do we become leaders of tomorrow?
    We have seen that the recent ministerial list of the Gen.Buhari led administration comprises candidates who claim to have pursued educational careers abroad. The worst of them would have B.Sc in Nigeria then furthered for M.Sc and PhD abroad, where they paid pocket tearing amounts. There is no doubt that these are mostly the children of politicians and ruling bourgeoisie of the society who have looted the economy resources and acquired surplus wealth by exploiting the mass of poor workers. These children come back to the country and gain better recognition than those of us who acquired education through the thick and thin of Nigerian public institutions where there is high level of decadence in the educational sector. They are being given the ruling staff of the society and they continue in the capitalistic footprints of their fathers. Then the question again, where is the chance of becoming leaders of tomorrow?

    Many a youth nowadays plan hurriedly to leave school without having the deep insights of what they are going into the real world to do. There is minute space reserved for the youths. This critically analyses where(the class) we belong.

    Now, let us analyse where we are. There is need to understand the state of the nation and with all sincerity, that it is in crises. There is total declination in the educational sector. This is not the time to debate on which institution is better or that universities are better than polytechnics.In fact, all these establishments have their basis and tenets upon which they are created. It is rather the time for us to unite in all our ranks and files and admit to resist this decadence attacking the educational sector. Whoever thinks he has attended the best institution in this country should go and compete internationally and see where he falls.
    Having graduated in this country, it is only to get into the economy and battle with unemployment or underemployment. The rate of successful graduates to those struggling to survive is approximately 30% to 70% respectively except we want to shy away from the inalienable facts. We are in a country where minimum wage is N18 000, that is if you manage to become a public servant. Such amount that is not enough to cater for a full grown individual is the same amount available for a man with family. Nigerian senators who amass millions monthly among other allowances have even reached to be part of the most highly paid political office holders of the world. We are in such situation where the country is in debt as a result of looting and mismanagement of resources and yet the remaining resources left and borrowed even from IMF and World bank are still being looted. So, here come questions again, when will Nigeria be free from debt? Please, what will be left in the economy in no distant date? There is no doubt that if we do not rise, this generation and generations yet unborn will continually pay for what we did not chew.
    Recently, the Governor of Oyo state stopped the payment of WAEC fee by the government; depriving many potential students right to education under the claim that there is limited allocation from above. Such limited allocation will not affect his salary and allowances and any of his Honourables in the House of Assembly. It is just the poor masses that must be responsible and pay for the economic melt down caused by those in power that are meant to represent the people.
    Workers that toil even for the minimum wage, N18 000 are still being owed salary for over 7 months in some our states. These are the workers who toil for the nation’s wealth some people are looting but only to be denied of payment.
    Come, January 2016, Nigerians will start paying more for electricity. We may only be paying more for darkness. Another Subsidy is to be removed from petrol, pump price to increase from N87 to N97 in 2016. Recently, the Senate proposed on an anti people social media bill to protect politicians from public criticism and exposure.
    We equally condemn the fact that governors said they could no longer pay 18000 as minimum wage except they retrench workers. It is no doubt that this is another way of cutting the minimum wage. These are the ANTI-PEOPLE CHANGES the APC is advocating!
    Greatest Nigerian youths, this is where we are!

    Where do we want to be?
    Virtually, every Nigerian youth nowadays will want to travel abroad due to the situation of the country. We want to in order to seek better lives and greener pasture. We want to leave our father land in deteriorating status quo and help to build other developed countries. There is need to sensitize ourselves that Nigeria has far more resources than those places we run to. They are only better because they have judiciously managed the resources in their possessions. The youths have equally contributed in making them the paradises that we see them as.
    Greatest Nigerian youths! We should take cognizance of the fact that if we leave this nation to crush completely, we have all contributed to destroy it. Either we like it or not, we come back to meet the “crumbs” of the crush.

    Lastly before submission, at this point in time, we must get over the illusion that everything is spiritual or things are in the way God wants them. Just as Karl Marx said, religion is an opium of the masses- it is the sigh of the oppressed creature.It is rather the time for us to critically understand how problems are interconnected in the society and how one crisis has led to the other just as atoms and molecules make up matter. We have seen that even with the high propagating rate of religious institutions, it has not in anyway reduce the problems and crisis in Nigeria, in fact, it is the other way round. Is it not high time we opened our eyes to reality and tackle issues with dialectics?

    Submissions- Where we want to be
    We must first understand a fact that the nation presently, is on a ratio of 1% to 99%, where some people forming the 1% are sitting on resources of the remaining 99% of the people.
    We must rise as part of this 99% and demand for it is ours from the oppressive ruling 1% class, because nature has provided for everyman’s need not for another man’s greed …
    -WE MUST DEMAND FOR PROPER FUNDING OF THE EDUCATION SECTOR; 26% OF THE COUNTRY’S BUDGET SHOULD BE ALLOCATED TO THE EDUCATION SECTOR AS RECOMMENDED BY THE UNESCO.THE LEVEL OF DEVELOPMENT OF A NATION RESTS ON THE LEVEL OF LITERACY OF THE CITIZENS.
    – WE MUST DEMAND FOR FREE AND QUALITY EDUCATION. EDUCATION IS NOT A COMMODITY TO BE PRICED. IT IS A RIGHT OF EVERY NIGERIAN CITIZEN AS PROVIDED IN CHAPTER 2, SECTION 18 SUB-SECTIONS 1,2,3(I),(ii),(iii) 1999 OF THE NIGERIAN CONSTITUTION AS AMENDED.
    – WE MUST DEMAND FOR N60,000 MINIMUM WAGE
    -WE MUST DEMAND THAT ADEQUATE AMOUNT OF MONEY SHOULD BE MADE AVAILABLE TO UNEMPLOYED YOUTHS TILL THEY ARE EMPLOYED.
    -WE MUST DEMAND THAT WORKERS SHOULD NOT IN ANYWAY BE OWED SALARY. THEY DETERMINE THE NATION’S WEALTH AND DEVELOPMENT.
    Your Right Remains A privilege Until It Is Demanded!

    COMRADE GBENGA VON,Member of Pacesetters Movement and Publicity and research member, Alliance Of Nigerian Students Against Neo Liberal Attacks (ANSAA), OAU BRANCH.

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