Law & Policy

Unbelievable: Nigerian Senate Proposes 7Year Prison Term for Social Media Critics

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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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3 Comments

  1. Bobby says:

    ‎Sometimes when I read some proposals I wonder what they must have been doing the night before they came up which such thoughts in the first place. 

    I sometimes imagine leaders at an all expensed tax payers paid flamboyant party full of all sorts of exotic food and drinks. I imagine Burna Boy’s “Run my race” blasting out the speakers, girls everywhere from different parts of the continent and around the world all mostly naked by the pool twerking it for “daddy”. 

    Then a door opens and from the thick cloud at the doorway emerges  four young and beautiful ASUU affected university girls each holding 500k in hand as they usher out one of the leaders. He stands victorious at the door way and then halts the music and asks for audience. As he takes one more puff of weed he looks around to his friends and while scratching his groin he says “my people (meaning my fellow national cake sharing bastard), I have a plan. Let’s jail anyone that criticises us on social media for 7yrs or they pay us 5M Naira.” 

    The crowd cheers, the music comes back on as the girls pour more drinks down the throats of these sponging twats so as to get more money out of them. 

    *Next day * 

    ‎A stupid bill is proposed. One that does nothing to address any of our numerous current problems. God is watching. ‎

    1. @Bobby – pretty descriptive.

  2. is a pity we in nigeria allows free loaders to be in corridors of power. i meant people without ideas or sense of directions…for years they haven’t been able to draft law to tackle corruption that has been the bane of equity and social justice in nigeria democracy.
    tackle boko haram
    youth unemployment
    poverty and other development issues, is making attempt to muscle the social media and cripple one’s right to free dom of speech and expression…
    the word for them is SHAME!

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