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Nigerians Begrudge Hate Speech and Social Media Bill, go out and Protest in Abuja

The Senate yesterday said it would not force the controversial hate speech and anti-social media bills on Nigerians.The upper chamber gave the promise as scores of protesters yesterday stormed the National Assembly demanding the immediate withdrawal of the bills aimed at regulating the social media and prescribing capital punishment for hate speech offenders.

One of the proposed laws titled “A Bill for an Act to make Provisions for the Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulations and for Related Matters, 2019,” sponsored by Mohammed Sani Musa, representing Niger East, had scaled second reading in the Senate.

Also, the bill titled “National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speeches (Establishment, etc) Bill, 2019” sponsored by the Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, prescribed death by hanging for offenders. But Abdullahi had said that the clause that provided for death by hanging in the bill would be expunged before it is passed by the Senate.

The protesters also called for the release of activist and publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, Abba Jalingo and other Nigerians who are currently being held by security agencies against valid court orders that granted them bail.The co-convener of the coalition, Henry Shield, told journalists that the aim of the protest was to express the group’s displeasure and its rejection of the two controversial bills.

Also, the bill titled “National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speeches (Establishment, etc) Bill, 2019” sponsored by the Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, prescribed death by hanging for offenders. But Abdullahi had said that the clause that provided for death by hanging in the bill would be expunged before it is passed by the Senate.

The protesters also called for the release of activist and publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, Abba Jalingo and other Nigerians who are currently being held by security agencies against valid court orders that granted them bail.The co-convener of the coalition, Henry Shield, told journalists that the aim of the protest was to express the group’s displeasure and its rejection of the two controversial bills.