THE People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has tackled the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on its renewed plan to regulate social media.
Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP National Publicity Secretary, said in a statement on Wednesday that the plan by the APC-led government is unconstitutional, anti-people and suppressive designed to “asphyxiate” Nigerians.
While stating that there are implementable laws in the nation’s law to curb fake news and to punish offenders, the party emphasized again that the move by the APC is targeted against outspoken Nigerians and media houses from demanding accountability from the federal government.
“The PDP asserts that the renewed frenzy to censor the social media is ostensibly targeted at muzzling outspoken Nigerians, particularly the youths, media and civil society organizations, from demanding for accountability and competence, as well as exposing the widespread corruption, unbridled treasury looting, barefaced injustice, human right abuses, constitutional violations and divisive actions of the APC administration,” PDP said.
“Our party rejects the claims that the regulation bill is targeted at checking fake news. This is because our nation already has enough implementable laws to counter the dissemination of fake news and punish offenders.
“It is clear that the APC administration is rather xenophobic of criticisms from citizens against its manifest atrocities that it seeks to surreptitiously reenact the obnoxious military decree 4 to suppress Nigerians.
“Instead of this desperation to gag the citizens and curtail their constitutionally guaranteed rights, our party counsels the APC administration to rather take steps to reassure Nigerians by ending its manifest corruption, treasury looting, abuse of human rights, nepotism and unaccountability for which the citizens demands answers.”
Rather than working hard to regulate the social media, the PDP counseled the federal government to become more accountable, particularly, by ending its arrogance as well as its shielding corrupt officials, especially those allegedly involved in the criminal diversion of funds voted for COVID-19 palliatives.
Controversial social media bill
In 2019, a bill to regulate the social media space was proposed and sponsored by Muhammad Musa, an APC lawmaker representing Niger East senatorial district.
The bill christened the “Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation Bill” better known as Social Media Bill prescribes sanction for abuse of social media was rejected by overwhelming Nigerians.
On Monday, the Northern Governors’ Forum shortly after its meeting in Kaduna, issued a communique issued by Simon Lalong, its Chairman and Governor of Plateau, to express support for the government’s move to regulate the social media.
The meeting, which said it took note of the devastating effect of the uncontrolled social media in spreading fake news, called for major control mechanisms and censorship of social media practice in Nigeria.