During a plenary sitting today, Nigeria’s legislative house passed the controversial “Social Media Bill” to second reading.
Despite the protests and controversy generated by the introduction of “The Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation’ Bill”, otherwise known as the “Social Media Bill”, the bill has passed its second reading on the floor of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The motion for a debate on the bill was moved on Wednesday at plenary by the sponsor of the bill, Senator Sani Musa.
Amongst other things, the controversial bill seeks to regulate social media usage in the country with the aim of reducing the spread of false news.
The bill which has been described by many as repressive was met with heavy criticisms from all quarters immediately it was introduced.
However, only one senator, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani opposed the bill during its debate on Wednesday. In his argument, Senator Nnamani said that there was already a law in the country which addresses internet falsehood, which is the Cyber Crimes Act.
The Senate directed its Committee on Judiciary to work on the bill and return in four weeks.
The bill was introduced on Tuesday, November 5, 2019, by Senator Mohammed Sani Musa, the senator representing Niger East Senatorial District who argued that the bill will regulate the use of social media in Nigeria and ultimately curb fake news on the internet.
This is not the first time such an anti-social media bill would be introduced in the hallowed chambers.
The old bill by the 8th Senate was titled “A Bill for an Act to Prohibit Frivolous Petitions and other Matters Connected therewith”.
The bill sought to compel critics to accompany their petitions with sworn court affidavit or face six months imprisonment upon conviction. It was introduced by Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah.