Convener of Concerned Nigerians and human rights activist, Deji Adeyanju has criticised Nigerian Senate for proposing a bill tagged “Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation Bill, 2019 (SB 132)”.
Adeyanju, in a memo sent to the President of the senate, Ahmad Lawan and Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Opeyemi Bamidele, described the bill as an aberration of Nigeria’s constitution as amended in 1999.
Daily Trust recalls that the bill, sponsored by Senator Mohammed Sani Musa (APC, Niger) generated outrage in November 2019 when it was first read on the floor of the senate.
But the activist, who argued that the bill offends constitution, added that human rights activists have been at the receiving end of persecution by state actors, using the instrumentality of anti peoples’ laws, similar to the bill under consideration.
According to him, “It will be used as an instrument of persecution by the government in power, and successive governments.”
He wondered why we need another bill when there are existing laws guiding cyberspace and other related issues, urging the lawmakers to discontinue the bill with immediate effect.
“Another reason why the consideration of this bill should be discontinued, is that in the absence of a proper, well run, independent national institutions (which Nigeria obviously lack at the moment), the bill, if passed into law, will become a tool for vendetta in the hands of state actors and many of you who are today on the side of government may become victims when the table turns.”