Senate throws out anti-social media bill

Bukola Saraki

Bukola Saraki

THE Senate, on Tuesday, unanimously rejected the Bill for an Act to Prohibit Frivolous Petitions and other matters connected herewith, otherwise known as anti-social media bill.

The rejection was due to the report of the Committee on Judiciary,Human Rights and Legal Matters, which reported to the Senate that most provisions of the bill were already captured in other legislations.

The bill, sponsored by Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah and read for the first time on November 2015 on the floor of the Senate, had caused an instant uproar in the social media circles.

Chairman of the committee, Senator David Umaru, who presented his report on Tuesday, disclosed that most of the provisions of the bill had already been covered by other extant laws of the federation and could not be duplicated.

Consequent upon the advice from the committee, the Senate resolved to reject the bill.

Senator Umaru,  who read the report of the committee, stated that although the bill was innovative and laudable, its passage in its current form would hinder the anti-corruption war which was a focal point of the current administration.

“Some of our extant Acts, such as the Penal Code, the Criminal Code, the Cybercrime Act, etc‚ have sufficient provisions to address the issues that the Frivolous Petitions (Prohibition, etc) bill 2015 seeks to address,” he said.

Senator Dino Melaye, in his contribution, insisted that the bill would impugn on the information gathering of the police, adding that it was also against the anti-corruption war of this administration.

Senator Shehu Sani admonished people in position of authority to be more tolerant of critics from Nigerians, using whatever social media platform they deemed fit.

Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekwerenmadu, who presided over the plenary, said the withdrawal of the bill had demonstrated the beauty of the Senate and the National Assembly.



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