The Nigerian Senate has responded to a report that it was determined to pass the social media bill despite wide condemnation by majority of Nigerians, claiming that the report was false.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Ajibola Basiru,on Saturday in Abuja.
He explained that there was no way the report will be true because the committee handling the bill has not submitted its recommendations for the consideration of the whole house at plenary.
According to him the report was only a ploy set up to ridicule and tarnish the image of the Senate.
He said, “This report is yet another example of irresponsibility taken too far as there has not been any recommendation for passage of the bill by the Senate.
“It should be a common knowledge by all that the Senate conducts its sittings in the open and matters for consideration are well-laid out and, therefore, would not require anyone’s investigation to ‘dig’ out what the Senate would do.
“The relevant committee of the Senate has not submitted its report for the bill to be passed at all or surreptitiously as claimed.
“We will not allow unscrupulous writers to denigrate the Senate and ridicule the great work that is on-going.”
The bill, titled Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation Bill, 2019, passed second reading in the Senate last November.
It is sponsored by Sani Musa of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Niger State.
He said the bill aims to mitigate the threat of false information spread on the internet by monitoring online spaces and not to gag free speech as popularly believed among Nigerians.
The bill had also suffered a major setback as stakeholders which includes some Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, political parties, journalist, Amnesty International amongst others kicked against its implementation.