social_mediaThe Nigerian Senate on Wednesday drew closer to passing a bill that puts a two-year imprisonment or an option of fine on anyone who posts abusive statements on social media.

Highlights:

  • The bill passed its second reading on the floor of the Senate
  • Anyone found guilty can opt for a fine of two million Naira
  • Bill is sponsored by Bala Ibn Na’Allah
  • Nigerians have abused past leaders on social media
  • Some Nigerians see it as an abuse of their constitutional rights

Details:

At plenary on Wednesday, the bill sponsored by Deputy Senate Leader, Bala Ibn Na’Allah, passed its second reading.

As stated in the bill, anyone found guilty of using abusive words on any social media would pay two million Naira, as an option for the two years’ jail term.

With Intent 

The bill proscribes that any person, who through text message, tweets, or through social media posts any abusive statement, knowing same to be false with intent to set the public against any person or group of persons, an institution of Government or such other bodies established by law, shall be guilty.

It further seeks to make it unlawful to submit any petition or statement intended to report the conduct of any person for the purpose of an investigation, inquiry and or inquest without a dully sworn affidavit in the High Court of a State or the Federal High Court confirming the content to be true and correct and in accordance with the Oaths Act.

After news about the bill broke, social media users expressed displeasure over the bill, saying it was an infringement on their right.

Some of the tweets against the bill read:

Nigerians have always found the social media reliable when they want to air their view about a government, but some take it further down to using abusive words against the persons in government.

If the bill is passed, such abusive words could be considered as contraventions to the law and the individual may be punished.

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