Social Media/Hate Speech Bills: Focus On Insecurity, Poverty, Infrastructure - CAN Tells NASS
President of the Christain Association of Nigeria (CAN), Dr. Samson Ayokunle has called on the National Assembly to drop the Social Media and Hate Speech Bills currently before the senate and instead focus on legislation that will address insecurity, deplorable infrastructural amenities and the general welfare of the people.
This was made known in a statement signed by Evang. Samuel Kwamkur, National Director, Legal and Public Affairs of CAN.
The statement reads: “These two bills have generated misgivings and criticisms that they have led to uncommon tension and fears among citizens.
“Having looked at all sides to the debate, CAN is calling on the National Assembly, particularly the President of the Senate and all distinguished Senators to discountenance the two bills and put off completely any contemplation to pass them into Acts of the National Assembly as sincere lovers of the nation.”
The association argued that there were adequate laws to check the excesses of individuals and organizations that were misusing the social media and propagating hate speeches.
“The Penal Code, Criminal Code, Cyber Crime Act and other legal provisions on crimes that deal with hate speeches, defamation, libel and similar offences are clear and strong enough,” it noted.
CAN said it was concerned that Nigerians were distracted from discussing topical issues that had a direct bearing on their survival and wellbeing such as poverty, corruption, and the provision of good health facilities.
Ayokunle stated, “In this wise, we desire that governments at all levels and indeed members of the National Assembly pay greater attention to the issues of insecurity, economic hardship, poverty, bad roads, poor education and the dearth of infrastructure.”
While the Social Media Bill, otherwise called the ‘Internet Falsehood and Manipulation Bill’ is the brainchild of Senator Mohammed Sani Musa (Niger East), the Hate Speech Bill better known as the ‘Prohibition of Hate Speech Bill’ is being championed by Sen. Sabi Abdullahi (Niger North).
The bills seek to prevent the spread of fake news and hate speech in Nigeria.