Nigeria’s senate proposes a draconian law that would stifle speech and make it a crime to criticize the country on social media. Critics stand the chance, if convicted, to be sentenced to a seven year prison term or a 5Million Naira fine.
What’s troubling about this law is: 1) it is being proposed, 2) it is so broad and so stupid, and 3) it shows why the world continues to laugh at Nigerians i.e. we have our priorities really mixed up.
“Anyone who intentionally propagates false information that could threaten the security of the country or that is capable of inciting the general public against the government through electronic message shall be guilty of an offense and upon conviction shall be sentenced to seven years imprisonment or N5 million (fine).”
“Anyone?” Good luck trying to stop the many Nigerian citizens scattered globally from engaging in criticism of the country on social media. “Intentionally?” Who determines intent? “Capable of inciting?” Who determines what is “capable of inciting?” Like the legislators REALLY has nothing to do. Such unbelievable utter nonsense.
However, writing on this issue or getting angry about it on social media for many who will, is not enough. Locally, here in the USA, if we have issues with proposed legislation by our legislators, we mobilize with other similarly situated groups that the proposed bill will affect and we engage in grassroots lobbying efforts with our representatives so they can voice our opposition; and vote “no.” In Nigeria, I am unaware that the public engages in such a way. We need to.
There is a group called ‘Enough is Enough Nigeria’ that over the years has sent me information on the many rallies and push they (conduct) for good governance and accountability from our Nigerian leaders. Perhaps persons locally in the country who will be and are affected by this proposed legislation should reach out to this group to see what can be done, especially given the bill is allegedly at an advanced stage in the senate.
Read the news of the bill below:
“The Senate has reached an advanced stage to pass a bill that seeks seven years (prison) term for social media critics found guilty of inciting the public against the government.
The proposed legislation which has scaled second reading in the upper legislative chamber is also proposing a stiffer punishment for internet fraudsters and scammers in Nigeria as those convicted will face a seven years imprisonment.
The joint Senate Committees on Judiciary, Human Rights and legal matters, Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes led by Senator Umaru Dahiru (PDP, Sokoto), yesterday organised a one day public hearing on the bill for an act to provide for the prohibition and punishment for electronic fraud and crime in all electronic transactions in Nigeria.
Section 13 subsection 3 of the bill proposes that: “Anyone who intentionally propagates false information that could threaten the security of the country or that is capable of inciting the general public against the government through electronic message shall be guilty of an offense and upon conviction shall be sentenced to seven years imprisonment or N5 million (fine).”
Declaring open the public hearing Senate President David Mark who was represented by the deputy minority whip, Senator Abu Ibrahim (APC, Katsina), said electronic fraudsters pose great danger to the country which must be tackled to attract foreign investment.
The committee chairman Senator Umaru Dahiru (PDP, Sokoto) said electronic fraud was posing serious threat to world economies and Nigeria being a developing economy should enact appropriate laws to deal with the challenges.” – DAILY TRUST
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