Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) says the national assembly’s fascination with regulating the social media is disturbing.
In a statement on Monday, Idongesit Ikanga, PANDEF’s national chairman, said the national assembly must exercise caution in its handling of the social media and hate speech bills.
A week after the senate introduced a bill to regulate social media, the senate reintroduced another bill seeking to establish a commission for the prohibition hate speech in the country.
“Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF condemns the Hate Speech Bill currently before the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and calls on the Senate to throw out the Bill in the interest of national peace and stability, without further delay,” the national chairman said.
“The Bill is also a gross violation of press freedom, and presents a clear danger to the nation’s democracy.
“We are in a constitutional democracy, as such, nothing should be done by the National Assembly to muzzle citizens who have opinions that may be at variance with the views of people in the corridors of power.
“While PANDEF recognizes that fake news and related issues, especially on social media, are global challenges, we strongly disagree with proponents of the Bill that hanging of Citizens who express opinions that may be considered offensive is the answer to nation’s problems.
“We therefore implore members of the National Assembly to exercise caution and restraint in their fascinations over checking the abuse of social media.
“Human life has an inherently sacred attribute that should be protected and respected at all times, hence should not be toyed with on the altar of political considerations and conveniences. PANDEF considers the gravity the Senate is giving to the so-called Hate Speech and Social Media Bills as disturbing.”
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