The leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has cautioned the Federal Government over the proposed Social Media Bill and the Hate Speech Bill, and called on Nigerians to raise their voices against the two bills.
At a press conference held at the Iwe Irohin House of the Nigeria Union of journalists in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, the National Public Relations Officer of the Association, Azeez Adeyemi, described the bills as anti-human which if allowed to stand could undermine the rights of Nigerians.
“Our attention has been drawn to an attempt by the federal government of Nigeria in connivance with a senator representing Niger-East, Senator Muhammad Sani Musa to silence the Nigeria populace especially the youth of which the students constitute it largest percentage through a social media bill.” he said.
“The bill had last week passed the second reading at the floor of the red chamber, which means it is on its way to becoming a law.”
“Part 3 (12) of the bill gives law enforcement agencies the power to shut down access to the internet and social media without recourse to the National Assembly or a court.”
“There is no doubt that the Nigerian government is all out to clamp down on critics of their anti-human policies and acts. However, any government going this way is gradually moving toward anarchy, a point Nigerian students will resist with the strength we have.”
“In a related development, through Sen. Sabi Abdullahi (APC, Deputy Chief Whip), the Nigerian government is also backing a Hate Speech Bill, otherwise called the ‘Prohibition of Hate Speech Bill’.”
He believes that the bills could infringe on the fundamental rights of Nigerians.
“These bills are tactical moves to shut the ordinary man, youths and the journalist to pave way for their impunity.”
“If this bill is allowed to thrive, the government will be vested with the sole power to determine what a hate speech is, and as a result witch-hunt opponents and even journalists.”
“On this note, Nigerian students stand firm against the social media bill in totality and every other thing it might stand for.”
“We have students in other countries of the world but they will never be caged the way Nigerian government is trying to muscle us as if they want the world to end in this century.”
“Even when the social media bill is yet to be passed into law, lawmakers are beginning to witch hunt our students who talk about their anti-masses behaviours on social media.”
“It should be noted that only a student/elite could identify most of these wicked acts of politicians as some of them poses to be good intentions even when they meant the opposite.”