No fewer than 110 civil society organisations would on Monday March 9th storm the venue of the public hearing at National Assembly Abuja to ventilate their grievances against the proposed Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation Bill Social Media Bill.
The groups under the aegis of Coalition of Civil Society Organisations for Protection of Civil Space said the bill would further stifle and muzzle freedom of expression.
Addressing journalists in Abuja on Wednesday the Convener , Bukky Shonibare said the attempt by the Senate to resuscitate the bill that had been rejected by the people, constitutes an assault on the people.
Shonibare added that the bill is a direct affront to the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) which guarantees the human rights of everyone including freedom of expression.
She stressed further that the plan clampdown on the internet users and critics of the government has shown a rising pattern of suppression .
She therefore called on lawmakers to use the public hearing to tender apologize to Nigerians for wasting legislative time in resuscitating an obnoxious bill that had been totally rejected and to drop the bill.
Shonibare said ” The Senate should rather promote bills that would improve the civic space, and not unduly restrict it. The bill is a threat to constitutionally and internationally guaranteed human rights.
” The Senate should also note that there are enough existing laws in the country’s statute books on defamation, privacy, libel and slander to protect public and private individuals along with the 2015 Cybercrimes Act. The SB. 132 Bill, therefore, is a legislative overkill.
” There is absolutely no need for a new law especially targeting the internet and social media platforms”
She said over 110 organizations have jointly signed a petition submitted to the committee and would mobilise them to attend the public hearing.