Former minister of Aviation Femi Fani-Kayode has described the Social Media Bill and Hate Speech Bill as the greatest threats to Democracy and freedom of expression in the history of Nigeria.
Nigeriatunes reports that Senator Mohammed Sani Musa, a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) representing Niger East Senatorial District, introduced the Bills on Tuesday, November 5, 2019.
The bills passed first reading on the floor of the upper Chamber on November 13. Despite public outcry against the bill, it also passed second reading yesterday, November 22.
The bills seek to regulate the use of social media in Nigeria and fight fake news on social media. When the bills become law, a person who is guilty may face a death penalty.
If the gravity of the offence does not warrant a death penalty, a person who is guilty of the offence is liable to a 10-year jail term or 10 million Naira fine.
The rejection of the bills.
Hence, Fani-Kayode joined the Nigerian Bar Association, civil rights groups, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and other Nigerians to kick against the bills. The former minister took to his Twitter page to urge the National Assembly not to pass the two bills into law.
He said: “The Social Media Bill and the Hate Speech Bill are the greatest threats to democracy and freedom of expression in the history of Nigeria. If the National Assembly makes the mistake of passing either or both of these two Bills Nigerians will suffer the consequences for many generations to come and human rights, liberty and freedom will be a thing of the past in our country.
“I would urge Nigerians not to view this matter with their usual indifference, complacency, docility, stoicism and lily-livered cowardice because the whole thing is an insidious attempt to silence their tongues, cage their spirits, capture their souls, break their ability to resist tyranny and evil and finally turn them into a nation of pliant little quislings, slaves and breathe and boys.