About 135 civil society organisations have asked the Senate to withdraw the social media bill, noting that the groundswell of opposition against it showed that Nigerians are against the proposed law.
The Protection from Internet Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill, better known as Social Media Bill, prescribes sanction for abuse of social media.
It was sponsored by Senator Muhammad Musa representing Niger East senatorial district.
The CSOs argued that the majority of views and arguments canvassed against the proposed law indicated that it had no place in the country.
They expressed satisfaction with the opposition to the bill by Nigerians during the public hearing at the Senate on Monday.
This was contained in a statement jointly signed by the Centre for Liberty, Girl Child Africa, Global Rights; Enough is Enough Nigeria, Centre for Democracy and Development, Civil Society Legislative, Advocacy Centre, Oxfam Nigeria, Transition Monitoring Group and others in Abuja on Wednesday.
It read, “It has now become abundantly clear to everyone, and particularly to Senator Muhammed Musa – the sponsor of the Social Media Bill – and other senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, that the majority of views and arguments canvassed during the public hearing overwhelmingly indicates the resistance, disapproval, condemnation, and outright rejection of the bill as it has no place in Nigeria.
“From the public hearing, which was broadcast live in Nigeria and to the world, the fair conclusion of the majority of views collated is that the bill must be withdrawn and trashed by the Ninth National Assembly.”
While appreciating the efforts of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, the group further urged the committee to report to the Senate the overwhelming condemnation of the Social Media Bill by Nigerians during the public hearing.
It pledged to monitor the deliberations by the Senate on the bill “to ensure that we resist any attempt to undermine the established principle of rule of law and protection of fundamental human rights.”