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PDP kicks against Social Media Bill, says it’s out to suppress and silence Nigerians

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THE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has spoken against the Protection from Internet Falsehoods, Manipulations and Other Related Matters Bill, 2019, popularly known as Social Media Bill, stating that the Bill is targeted at suppressing and silencing Nigerians.

PDP made this submission along many others in a press statement signed by Kola Ologbondiyan, its National Publicity Secretary.

In the statement, opposition party urged Nigerians and the leadership of the National Assembly to resist the Social Media Bill, which it described as unconstitutional and anti-people.

It stated that the Bill and the manner in which it has been treated in the 9th Assembly exposes “ the intolerance of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration as well as the desperation to cover its atrocities for which it is mortally afraid of public criticisms.”

The PDP argued that the administration has pervaded incompetence, corruption, security compromises, nepotism and general misrule and now seeks to foster totalitarianism in the country.

“It is obvious that the reason for this bill is to suppress democratic rights and prevent Nigerians, the media, civil society groups, pro-democracy organizations, the opposition and dissenting voices from freely criticizing the atrocities, abuses of the current administration,” the statement reads in part.

The Social Media Bill which was sponsored by Mohammed Sani Musa, senator representing Niger East under the flagship of All Progressives Congress (APC), passed second reading on November 20, and has since triggered uproar on social media.

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On Monday, a public hearing on the Bill was held at the National Assembly complex where several civil society organisations, media organisations as well as other stakeholders were present to speak for and against it.

The Amnesty International was present at the public hearing and Osai Ojigho,  its Country Director submitted that the Bill is a threat to freedom of expression.

Seun Durojaiye is a journalist with International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR).

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