Group storms NASS, demands withdrawal of social media, hate speech bills

Group storms NASS, demands withdrawal of social media, hate speech bills

- The CFL has staged a peaceful protest at the National Assembly over social media and hate speech bills

- The group asked NASS to stop hearing on the bills without further delay

- Adebayo Rafeal, the co-convener of CFL, said the proposed laws were dangerous to Nigeria’s democracy

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The Centre For Liberty (CFL), a civil society organisation, on Wednesday, July 22, stormed the National Assembly complex to protest the continued consideration of the social media and hate speech bills by the Senate.

Leadership reports that the CFL said the proposed laws were dangerous to Nigeria’s democracy. gathered that the group advised the Senate and its relevant committee working on the bills to immediately stand the proposed legislations down, saying that if passed into law, they would do more harm than good to the nation.

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Group storms NASS, demands withdrawal of social media, hate speech bills
Members of the Centre For Liberty (CFL) protesting against social media and hate speech bills at the National Assembly. Credit: Leadership newspaper.
Source: UGC

The newspaper noted that the protesters started the peaceful march at the National Assembly MOPOL Gate, followed by a staged legislative session performed to enlighten the public about the repercussions of passing the controversial bills into law.

Speaking during the protest, co-convener of CFL, Adebayo Rafael, said it became necessary to further remind and entreat the Senate to abide by the noble wish of the Nigerian people and kill the bills without further delay.

He said: “It must be stated that the parliament exists at the pleasure of the people. According to section 14 (2a) of the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria (as amended): ‘Sovereignty belongs to the people of Nigeria from whom government through this constitution derives all its power and authority.’

"The people of Nigeria had overwhelmingly rejected and still do overwhelmingly reject these Bills, of which retaining them in the record of the Senate with the hope of oxygenating it, will amount to an aberration and a disservice to the people of Nigeria.

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“We, therefore, urge the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmed Lawan, the Senate committee on judiciary, human rights and legal matters, and all members of the 9th Senate to immediately commit to the verdict of Nigerians and kill this Bill forthwith.

“In the same vein, there has been no known public support for the Hate Speech Bill, formally christened ‘National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speeches (Est, etc) Bill, 2019,’ rather Nigerians have been unequivocal in demanding the interment of the bill.

"The hate speech bill, we believe, should not be given further legislative deliberation – not only because it proposes the death sentence for defaulters but also because it has no premise for existence in a democratic society like ours."

Rafael pointed out that the bills do not in any way provide solutions to the problems they ought to address, rather they seek to further throw the country into chaos and confusion by the arrogating authority in ways that are dangerous to democracy, free speech and digital freedom in a democratic society.

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Meanwhile, had previously reported that following the rising insecurity in Nigeria, the Senate on Tuesday, July 21, asked the country’s service chiefs to step aside without any further delay.

It was reported that the resolution followed a motion by Senator Ali Ndume (APC, Borno), who expressed worry over the reported voluntary retirement of over 200 army officers.

The red chamber also asked its joint committee on security to find out why the officers were deserting the service.

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